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Central California District
Release Date: 05/17/10
Contacts: Michelle Puckett , (661) 742-4474  
  Debbie Santiago , (661) 332-1754  
News Release No. CA-CC-10-72

BLM Wildland Firefighters Battle Cotton Fire along Hwy 166

Three large wildfires broke out on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office yesterday.  The Paul Fire started in Weldon near Lake Isabella at 1:30 p.m. behind Paul’s Store and burned 2.5 acres.  On the Westside near the Carrizo Plain National Monument two more wildland fires were also reported.  The Wash Fire threatened the administrative site at Washburn Ranch on the Carrizo.  Firefighters battled this fast spreading grass fire and caught it at 945 acres. This fire is now 100% contained. 

The largest and most active fire is known as the Cotton Fire which is burning 5 miles west of New Cuyama along Highway 166.  The Cotton Fire is approximately 1,800 acres and moved northeast along the Carrizo National Monument near Morales Canyon.  Firefighters from many different counties responded and fought fire most of the day as winds quickly pushed the fire through tall grass and brush.  Currently 430 fire personnel are assigned to the Cotton Fire and BLM law enforcement officers are currently investigating the exact cause.

The Cotton Fire Incident Command Post is located at Richardson Park in New Cuyama. Today firefighters continue to build fireline and mop-up.  Hotshot crews and engines will remain on scene until full control is gained.  Complexities include steep terrain, rocky chutes and canyons, logistical support and high winds remain a concern for the next burning period.

A Type II Incident Management Team (So Cal 3) under the command of Mike Wakoski will take over command of the Cotton Fire tonight at 6:00 p.m.  For additional info on the Cotton Fire call Michelle Puckett at 661-742-4474 or Debbie Santiago at 661-332-1754.  Information officers are also available at fire camp.


Central California District   2800 Cottage Way      Sacramento, CA 95825  

Last updated: 05-17-2010