No Relief From Hot, Dry Conditions as Crews Battle Shirley Fire

By Mark Leberfinger, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
June 17, 2014; 7:44 AM ET
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Pushed by the wind, a rapid wildfire in the Sierra Nevada of California, forced hundreds of evacuations over the weekend, burning approximately 2,600 acres to date.

Beginning late Friday night, the Shirley Fire was ignited in the Sequoia National Forest in California, northeast of Bakersfield, and is now threatening hundreds of residencies and the Southern California Edison communications facilities.

As a result of the fire, a shelter opened for affected residents from the Kern Valley in Lake Isabella, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office.

Although the wildfire has grown to around 2,600 acres, fire crews made substantial progress on Monday containing the blaze. According to the InciWeb website, the Shirley Fire was 75 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon. This is up from 10 percent containment as of early Monday.

The southern Sierras remain in the grip of exceptional drought conditions and no relief is in sight to aid firefighters.

It will remain dry through this weekend and temperatures are expected to warm from the 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday to the 90s on Thursday through Sunday.

Winds will occasionally gust to 30 mph during the day on Tuesday, then become lighter on Wednesday.

Closing numerous portions of roadways in the national forest, investigations are still underway to determine the cause of the blaze.

Smoke from the Shirley Fire is visible miles away, despite firefighting efforts. (Photo/InciWeb)

With flames visible from Wofford Heights and several calls have been received from concerned residents.

Smoke will continue to be an issue in the area and residents who may suffer adverse health effects due to smoke were urged to check with their health care provider.

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