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California Wildfires: Firefighters Gain Ground On Kern County Blazes

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CENTRAL CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES
A mobile home is destroyed after the Canyon Fire in the Tehachapi Mountains that destroyed a dozen homes and other structures and had consumed over 13,000 acres near the town of Tehachapi, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) | AP
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Thousands of firefighters and an aircraft fleet battled Tuesday to tame a string of lightning-caused wildfires that have burned 110 square miles of rural Central California brush and bush.

No homes have been damaged.

Evacuation orders were lifted at dawn for hundreds of Kern County homes. But fire spokesman Anthony Romero said an evacuation warning remained in place for about 30 summer houses in the Breckenridge area some 20 miles northwest of Tehachapi.

Road closures were making travel difficult throughout the fire zones.

Two fire complexes were located southeast of Bakersfield, near Arvin and Tehachapi, and a third complex in the northern part of the county reached Sequoia National Forest.

Four retardant-dropping air tankers and 21 water-dropping helicopters flew missions Tuesday in support of nearly 4,100 firefighters on the ground. Bulldozers carved containment lines as flames crackled through dense thickets of brush covering the pasture and mountain ranges.

A two-square mile brush fire off Highway 395 near Big Pine in Inyo County grew quickly Tuesday night. But cooler temperatures and lighter winds were allowing crews to make progress battling the blaze, which was 5 percent contained.

Glenn Barley, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the blaze was threatening no structures in the area, and that the highway would remain open.

The 29,383-acre Breckenridge complex, which includes three original fires that have burned together, was 40 percent surrounded, or contained, early Tuesday.

The 29,338-acre Comanche complex of four blazes was 60 percent surrounded, with full containment expected sometime Thursday.

The 10,312-acre Keene complex was 88 percent surrounded with full containment expected soon. "They are getting close," Romero said.

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