Erskine Fire: Kern County Evacuees Struggle With Uncertainty as Massive Blaze Continues to Burn

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Firefighters from Bakersfield mop up for hot spots on Sunday in the South Lake neighborhood of Lake Isabella that was destroyed by wildfire. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

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Tensions were running high Sunday morning at Kernville Elementary School, where dozens of evacuees camped out over the weekend in the wake of the massive wildfire in Kern County.

Robert Larsen sat by himself outside the school, drinking coffee.

“I want to go home,” said the 34-year-old Mountain Mesa resident, whose community around Lake Isabella was among those hardest hit by the more than 43,400-acre Erskine fire that is now 40 percent contained. “I just need to know what direction to go.”

Larsen was among many at the evacuation center who were anxiously awaiting word from fire officials about when they will be allowed to return to the burned areas. They want to know if their homes and personal belongings survived the devastation.

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