Spread of Central California wildfire being contained, sayd officials

28 June 2016

Firefighters made some gains as they battled a wildfire in central California yesterday that had claimed two lives and destroyed 200 homes.

According to federal fire officials, containment on the 68-square-mile blaze increased from 10 per cent to 40 per cent.

Around 2,000 firefighters battled the blaze that destroyed many homes belonging to retirees on fixed incomes with few other possessions.

Though the death toll stood at two, officials warned that it might increase.

On Saturday, firefighters found what apparently were a set of remains which were so badly burned forensic investigators would need to determine whether they belonged to a person or animal, according to Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency and freed up money and resources to fight the fire and to clean up in the aftermath. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had also authorised the use funds for firefighting efforts, according to fire officials.

The fire ravaged a number of small communities of houses and mobile homes that surround a reservoir - and the Kern River, a popular spot for fishing and whitewater rafting.

The communities lived in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada, a mountain range running hundreds of miles north and south through eastern California.

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