Wildfire Spreads Over 45,000 Acres in California as Search Through Destruction Continues

Two people have died and at least 200 homes were destroyed.

ByABC News
June 27, 2016, 6:18 PM

— -- Many residents in Kern County, California, have lost their homes in a deadly fire burning through the area, while others have been denied access to their houses amid the catastrophic destruction left behind.

Two people have died in the Erskine fire, which has spread to over 45,000 acres. At least 200 homes have been destroyed and many more are damaged.

Chief Brian Marshall of the Kern County Fire Department described the fire as mother nature and a spark colliding.

The fast-moving fire is 40 percent contained as of this morning, according to the spokesperson for Cal Fire, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Daniel Berlant.

While officials have lifted many evacuation orders today, some communities remained closed.

Brandi Pettit, an evacuee who said she learned from a neighbor that her home didn't make it, said, "Losing a house at age 29, it's hard," through tears. "I don't wish this on [anybody]."

Another woman told ABC News she feels "homeless and helpless."

Dudley Bagby, 80, told ABC News his home in Squirrel Valley was not destroyed, but others around his were.

Bagby and his wife, who are both OK, evacuated as the fire neared, but then came back to their home even though Squirrel Valley remained closed according to evacuation orders.

"She's coming down with Alzheimer's and it's confusing," Bagby said of his wife of 61 years. "And that's the worst thing for those people -- you get them out of their routine ... out of their house. They get just totally confused."

He feels lucky to be home with food and water, and with his wife safe.

"I got her back in the house now. And it's not that comfortable, but it's better than being out someplace else surrounded by strangers, that was my main concern. This other stuff, it's just stuff," he said.