Southern California wildfire kills 2, destroys 19,000 acres

Fighter fighters are battling a fast moving fatal wildfire in Southern California that has killed at least two people, officials said.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday in Kern County, where the Erskine Fire has already torched more than 19,000 acres in the Lake Isabella area.

Nearly 100 structures have been burned to ashes, while 1,500 more are under imminent threat from the roaring flames, which have not been contained, firefighters said.

“It’s normally one or two structures you hear (about), maybe a handful, but I can’t even count the amount of houses around me that are burned down,” resident Chadrick Kirby told CNN affiliate KGET.

As plumes of smoke cloud the sky, nearly 800 firefighters are battling the blaze in the rugged terrain, with several hundred more en route to the inferno, the Kern County Fire Department said.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the Kern County mountains and desert area until 5 a.m. (8 a.m. ET) Saturday.

While some residents in the South Lake area of Kern County, near Bakersfield, returned to their homes Friday, county officials said the strong winds are increasing fire behavior in the nearby Kelso Valley area.

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