Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Torres High School staff, from left, Brad Holck, Ruby Contreras and activities director Bryan Speed hold donations collected for the those affected by the Creek Fire. They will collect donations during school hours from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., through Sept. 16. Not pictured is Jennifer Williams who co-coordinated the drive with Speed.
With winds expected to ease throughout the Central Valley this weekend, Cal Fire hopes to gain some ground on the Creek Fire, which has burned more than 175,000 acres through Thursday and is zero percent contained.
According to Cal Fire, with temperatures returning to normal, fire fighters will be able to gain some ground. Damage inspection is ongoing as ongoing fire suppression efforts allow. There is potential for the fire to spread further east and south of Shaver Lake.
Over Madera County, residents continued to see a thick smoke layer, which is helping fire fighters take advantage of the conditions.
Cal Fire said they are making good progress in developing containment lines and protecting structures. Dozers and hand crews are extending containment line from the San Joaquin River to Castle Peak. They are expanding upon old dozer lines and roads, attempting to keep the fire east of Mammoth Pools Road.
Near Cascadel Woods, crews are incorporating natural fire breaks, such as rocky outcrops and open areas in the containment lines. A dozer line has been constructed around the Marina View Community and work continues north to Bayshore Road. Heavy equipment also continues to work north toward Central Camp to develop line. The Madera County Sheriff continues to enforce evacuation notices and maintain road closures to protect the public.
Damage inspection teams are in the process of evaluating structures and numbers continue to rise as further details become available There have been 60 single residence houses destroyed, 277 mixed commercial/residential buildings destroyed, four commercial buildings destroyed and 20 other minor structures burned.
The USDA Forest Service announced Wednesday the closure of all forests in California.
Evacuation orders are still in effect in the Bass Lake Basin, including Wishon, Bass Lake Annex and Manzanita and the town of North Fork and surrounding areas.
Evacuation warnings are in effect for Oakhurst, O’Neals, Walker Grade, Chukchansi, Indian Lakes, and the portion of Coarsegold east of State Route 41.
Roads are closed at Road 426 at Road 223, Road 200 at Road 221, Road 274 at Roads 222 and 225, Skyranch at Buckskin, Cascadel Arch, Road 420 at Road 223, White Chief Mountain Road, at Sugar Pine, and Fish Camp. Closure updates can be found on the Madera Sheriff’s Facebook page.
Evacuation points are set up at Clovis North High School and at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.
Animal evacuation centers can be found at the Oakhurst Community Center for small animals and at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds for horses only. Large animals are also accepted at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds.
There are currently 1,336 personnel and 24 crews assigned to fight the Creek Fire, along with 23 helicopters, 142 engines, 60 dozers and 39 water tenders.