Effects of Creek Fire get a closer look

NORTH FORK — Another episode of “Outside Beyond the Lens” (Currently available on YouTube) hits close to home for the mountain communities in California living with the effects of wildfire.


The Creek Fire ignited in September 2020 and burned nearly 400,000 acres in Central California. To date, this is the largest wildfire event in the state’s recorded history. Portions of the Sierra National Forest were badly damaged, and familiar landscapes have been transformed forever.


Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jeff Aiello, and the “Outside Beyond the Lens” team explore the Sierra Scenic Byway to see how this beloved road trip route through the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains has changed. In this episode, they learn how to live with the effects of wildfire after the flames are out.


“The episode is going to be tough to watch and trigger some real emotions for people,” explains Aiello. “ But I hope it also inspires visitors and locals to embrace what’s happened and use the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway as a pathway to better understanding wildfires.”


For return visitors and for new travelers to the area, it is helpful to shift the expectations of what the experience holds. On the southern side of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, unobstructed views from the Mile High Vista of Mammoth Pools Reservoir and the three forks of the San Joaquin River are epic and worthy of the journey. The bright green saplings of oak and fir trees emerging from the ashes are a beautiful juxtaposition.


Presently, the full 100-mile loop is experiencing repairs to bridges and detours are necessary while the work continues. Grizzly Road is one such detour and offers access to Fresno Dome and Globe Rock. The alpine meadows, sugar pines and incent cedar trees were largely spared in this area, demonstrating the stark contrast between a landscape ravaged by fire and the old-growth forests that need further protection.


“For photographers, the byway is an excellent access point into the heart of the Creek Fire burn scar with strong images awaiting capture,” Aiello concludes.


For more information about the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, a map, and current conditions, please visit, www.sierravistascenicbyway.com.