At approximately 0330 hours on Friday, June 2, 2023, the Kern County Fire Department was dispatched to reports of a vegetation fire in the area of Seventh Standard Rd and Zachary Ave. Rather than a vegetation fire, the first arriving engine from Shafter reported an unknown type chemical burning blue in color near an agricultural pond southeast of the reported location. Due to the fact that an unknown substance and quantity was involved, the crew retreated to a safe distance and additional fire suppression and specialty equipment, along with specialized personnel, were requested to assist with incident stabilization and mitigation.
Crews were able to identify the substance as 99% sulfur, and a plan to safely extinguish the fire was developed. Prior to initiating firefighting operations crews were positioned downwind of the incident with specialized air monitoring devices to ensure plume drift did not affect potential populations in the area. The fire was quickly and safely brought under control and the incident was turned over to personnel from the Kern County Environmental Health Services Department.