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Firefighters Gain Ground on Central California Wildfires

Thousands of firefighters and an aircraft fleet battled Tuesday to tame a string of lightning-caused wildfires that have burned 108 square miles of rural Central California brush and bush.

No homes have been damaged.

Evacuation of hundreds of Kern County homes were lifted at dawn, but fire spokesman Anthony Romero said there is still an evacuation warning in place for about 30 summer houses in the Breckenridge area some 20 miles northwest of Tehachapi.

"We're looking pretty good right now," Romero said, noting flames are several miles away. "Engines are up there for structure protection."

Road closures were making travel difficult throughout the fire zones.

Two fire complexes were located southeast of Bakersfield, near Arvin and Tehachapi, and a third complex in the northern part of the county reached Sequoia National Forest.

Four retardant-dropping air tankers and 21 water-dropping helicopters flew missions Tuesday in support of nearly 4,100 firefighters on the ground. Bulldozers carved containment lines as flames crackled through dense thickets of brush covering the pasture and mountain ranges.

The 29,383-acre Breckenridge Complex Fire, which includes three original blazes that have burned together, was 40 percent surrounded, or contained, early Tuesday. There is no estimate for full containment.

The 29,338-acre Comanche Fire Complex of four blazes was 60 percent surrounded with full containment expected sometime Thursday.

The 10,312-acre Keene Complex Fire is 88 percent surrounded with full containment expected soon. 

"They are getting close," Romero said.

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