Wildfire forces closure of part of Hwy 178

The Highway Fire burns Monday, June 19, 2017 southwest of Lake Isabella, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Suzette Reynoso)

NOTE: This story was last updated at 5:20 p.m. Monday, June 19.


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- A portion of Highway 178 has been closed as crews fight a wildland fire west of Lake Isabella.

Traffic is being detoured onto Highway 218, east of Hwy. 178.

As of midday Monday, Black Gulch south and north are both closed and have been evacuated. Cindy Thill with the U.S. Forest Service said there might be closures towards Rancheria Road.

The so-called Highway Fire has burned an estimated 1,500 acres and is 10 percent contained, according to the interagency InciWeb.

Another Forest Service spokeswoman said people in Lake Isabella and Kernville shouldn't worry. She said the fire is burning away from Lake Isabella and is miles away from Kernville.

She said the challenge for firefighters is the “extremely steep” terrain. Temperatures are also extremely high.

More than 400 firefighting personnel are on scene from multiple agencies, attacking the fire from the ground and air.

The Highway Fire was discovered Sunday afternoon on the Kern River Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

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