More than 3,000 working to contain ongoing Creek Fire
Courtesy of Madera County Sheriff’s Office Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue looks over a campsite at Mammoth Pool to see the damage and understand what would be required to retrieve vehicles and personal property. “It was quite overwhelming and somewhat emotional to see,” Pogue, a lifelong Madera County resident, said. “I can’t even imagine being there as the fire ripped through that area. The scene I found can only be described as eerily apocalyptic.”
More than 300 personnel have been added to battle the 16-day-old Creek Fire that has burnt 278,368 acres, according to Cal Fire.
Cal Fire says that the fire is 27 percent contained as of Monday, which is an increase from 18 percent reported Thursday.
There are 3,181 personnel assigned to the fire from 40 crews. Damage Assessment Teams have inspected 95 percent of affected structures, Cal Fire reported. Evaluations will continue, debris will be cleared, and roads will be made safe to travel. Utility crews are addressing damage to power infrastructure, and while work is progressing rapidly, there is still much to be done. As evacuated areas are opened for re-entry, residents are urged to use caution when entering burned areas. Fire damaged trees can fall at any time, and hot coals may be present under deep ash.
Seventy-one structures have been damaged and 855 (an increase from 744 reported Thursday) have been destroyed.
There are 16 helicopters (down from 18 on Thursday), 326 engines (an increase of 63), 83 dozers (an increase of 76) and 83 water tenders (an increase from 65) assigned to the fire. Evacuation warnings are still in affect, but some in Fresno County have been lifted. In Madera County, Bass Lake, Marina View, Cascadel Woods and the 225 corridor is still in evacuation working. For a complete list of warnings, see the Madera County Sheriff’s website.
The weather forecast of hot and dry will help, including mild wilds. According to Cal Fire, this will provide firefighters an opportunity to implement their plans. Fire containment lines in Madera County now extend from the San Joaquin River to Peckinpah Meadows.
Early Monday morning a small area of fire was pushed by down-sloping winds towards Central Camp and approached one of these dozer lines. A crew of firefighters had already been staged in the area late Sunday, and was used to protect this line. The fire perimeter north of Central Camp to Little Shut Eye Peak has had minimal growth. The protection of the communities along the fire’s western edge continues to be the highest priority.
Cal Fire is encouraged that fire is headed north towards Lions Fire burn scar. It is slowing because of sparse timber and high rock concentrations. Also, Lions Burn scar lacks adequate fuel to sustain progress. This allows air operations a chance to contain this area once the smoke clears enough to fly safely.
As the smoke lifts allowing the sun to preheat the fire area, fire intensity will continue to increase as the relative humidity decreases through the day. The heavier fuels will retain heat for long periods of time and allow spreading to the lighter fuels in the afternoon. Limited progression is expected in most areas of the fire today.
Fire activity moderated in the south zone with fair overnight humidity in Fresno County. While the fire continued to back and smolder in the heavier fuels there was some activity in the light fuels in more wind prone areas. As the smoke lifts allowing the sun to preheat the fire area, fire intensity will continue to increase as the relative humidity decreases through the day. The heavier fuels will retain heat for long periods of time and allow spreading to the lighter fuels in the afternoon. Limited progression is expected in most areas of the fire today.
The fire will progress to the east of Huntington Lake around China Peak and continue to burn to the northeast, potentially connecting with the portion of fire moving south around Mount Tom but slow as fuels become reduced in the high higher elevation rock. The fire will continue to progress towards Florence Lake and the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness.
In addition, firefighters are battling the Bullfrog Fire in the Sierra National Forest. That fire is 20 percent contained and 890 acres have been contained. The fire is about 40 miles north of Clovis.