Huge Tehachapi Wildfire; 30-40 Homes Lost

Homes have burned; 150 homes threatened

California Wildfires

Local firefighters are in Kern County to help battle a monstrous fire that has burned 30-40 homes so far and is threatening 150 more.

The first crews were sent up as a preemptive precaution when lightning storms began hitting the region, according to Cal Fire.

Residents had to grab everything they could and get out before a fast-moving fire tore through the city of Tehachapi. 

One resident drove through flames to escape the 1000-acre fire according to a published report.

"I've always said I would grab photo albums. There was no time. There was no time," resident Trace Robie told the Associated Press.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency as a result of the wildfire burning in a city section of Tehachapi 60 miles northeast of the San Fernando Valley.

"One spot was so smoky we couldn't even really see the road at all for about a minute or so. We really had to slow down for that spot," said resident Wyant Winsor.

About 100 firefighters were on scene and more were ordered up by command and control. Resources included crews from Los Angeles County, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire according to the Tehachapi News.

"The wind has been a big factor. It's changing on us a lot,''  Kern County Fire Department Engineer Anthony Romero  said. "Now it's blowing from the southeast, going over a  couple of ridges."

The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the nearby junior high school. 

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