New wildfire reported in the Greenhorn Mountains, leading to man's rescue

New wildfire reported in the Greenhorn Mountains, leading to man's rescue
Ranch fire from the Alder Creek turnout courtesy Tim Kelly, US Forest Service Tuesday, June 1, 2014

ALTA SIERRA, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- A fire is burning in rugged terrain in the Greenhorn Mountains southwest of Kernville.

The Ranch fire started Tuesday shortly before 6:30 p.m. and was spotted by a Kern County sheriff's helicopter crew searching the area off Highway 155 and Rancheria Road for a man who went missing Monday.

The smoke led the sheriff's helicopter to spot the man, 47-year-old Timothy Edwards, at the bottom of a slope in the Bear Creek area. Sheriff's Lt. Lance Grimes said two Kern County Fire helicopters were immediately sent to the area. One to hoist Edwards to safety. The other to begin water-drops as soon as the rescue was complete. When the helicopters arrived the fire was estimated at one to two acres.

Edwards was transported by an awaiting ambulance to Kern Valley hospital to be checked out. Grimes said Edwards did not appear injured, but noted he had spent more than 24 hours in the rough terrain and heat.

By 10 p.m. the fire had grown to around 40 acres.

Since it is in the Sequoia National Forest, firefighting efforts were being coordinated by the US Forest Service. Spokeswoman Cindy Thill said the fire is about a quarter mile west of Red Mountain in the Greenhorn Mountains on the Kern River Ranger District and there is no ground access to it.

Heavy fuels in the steep terrain consist mostly of Manzanita and Oak. 

By Wednesday morning the fire had grown to 100 acres.

A Type 2 incident team is set to take over management of the fire Thursday.