Kern County Firefighter Injured by Tumbling Rock While Battling Wildfire Near 5 Freeway in Lebec

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Fellow first-responders rushed a Kern County firefighter to a hospital after he was injured by a tumbling rock while battling the Water Fire along the 5 Freeway near Lebec on Wednesday, authorities said.

The firefighter was in stable condition with "moderate" injuries, the Kern County Fire Department said in a written statement.

The mishap took place about 1:30 p.m. as the firefighter was carrying out ground fire suppression, officials said.

A firefighting helicopter with hoist capabilities was used to take him to a hospital.

The flames broke out around 11:30 a.m. south of the freeway's Grapevine Road exit, and grew to cover about 35 acres by noon, the Fire Department said on Twitter.

By 4:45 p.m., it covered about 50 to 75 acres and was 20 percent contained, KBAK in Bakersfield reported.

Crews were expected to remain on scene overnight, and freeway traffic through the area was expected to be delayed.

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