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Three wildland fires occurred in
the area this past week — one
being the Bodfish fire near Lake
Isabella, the other two a little closer
Captain Raj Singh, public
information officer for the Owens
Peak Complex Fire Incident, said
the two fires that have affected the
Ridgecrest area are the Indian fire
in Indian Wells Canyon and the
Sand 2 fire at Sand Canyon, five
miles to the north.
Singh said that as of Tuesday morning, the Sand 2 fire is 100-percent contained after consuming slightly
more than 1,200 acres. “The Indian fire is about 65 percent contained at a little more than 1,000 acres.”
Currently about 600 personnel are assigned to the incident and are working the fires, whether on the fire
line itself or at the base camp resting, said Singh. He speculated that the team will remain here throughout
Containment on the Indian fire could come as early as Thursday, weather permitting. “The difficulty on that
fire is terrain and access,” Singh said, adding that most of the firefighting was being done by hand crews who
had to hike up, or were flown in by helicopter. “We’re having a hard time getting fire engines up there.”
Air support for the Indian fire, which began Sunday afternoon, was primarily limited to helicopters. Some
tanker drops were possible during the early stages of the fire, but were suspended shortly after that because
of high winds and turbulence.
About six helicopters are now working the fires, Singh said, and fixed-wing aircraft are available if needed;
however, “most of the work is being done by hand crews and the helicopters.
“We have had two firefighter injuries. One was a sprained knee on the fire line, the other was a minor
laceration.” Both firefighters have been treated and are currently resting.
Singh said the fire is actually in the Bureau of Land Management’s responsibility area, but other local,
state and federal agencies are also involved, including Kern County Fire Department personnel and U.S.
Forest Service personnel from throughout California.
Until further notice, the BLM has issued recreational restrictions.
“Just for an advisement for residents who are in the area, avid hikers, the BLM has issued a temporary
closure for hiking trails in the Owens Peak Wilderness area and also the Pacific Crest Trail north of Highway
178,” said Singh. “That closure will remain in effect until we receive word from the BLM that it’s going to be
With the Indian fire, a few structures were located roughly two miles away, said Singh. However, a fire crew in
the area made an assessment and determined that there was no threat to those structures. As of now, he
said, no structure protection is in place.
Both Bodfish and Sand 2 fires were a result of lightning during the July 15 thunderstorms that rumbled
through the area. The Indian fire remains under investigation.
Fires rage in nearby mountains
By DAVE JOHNSON,
News Review Staff Writer
The Indian Hill fire breaks out Sunday, as seen here with Owens Peak
in the background.
According to Singh, “The Bodfish
fire had an incident management fire
team assigned to it. That fire is now
100-percent contained.” That
management team, Singh said, has
now transferred to the Ridgecrest
area and is currently managing both
the Indian fire, and the Sand 2 fire.
The team is headquartered at the
Desert Empire Fairgrounds.