Fresno · Highlight

Creek Fire breaks 40% containment

Blaze up to 305k acres

9/29/20, 9:40 a.m.: Fire officials report that the containment of the Creek Fire is now up to 44%.

With containment on the rise, the fire only grew by 600 acres, bringing the total to 305,240 acres.

The total personnel on hand at the Creek Fire grew increased by about 500 to total 3,675 individuals.

CAL FIRE has not reported any additional structure damage.

Acreage of Creek Fire continues to climb

9/28/20, 12:45 p.m.: After breaking 300,000 acres over the weekend, the Creek Fire now sits at 304,640 acres.

However, firefighters were not able to gain any more ground on the fire as the containment holds at 39%.

Total personnel on hand took a significant drop from the weekend, dropping 3,172.

The building damage remains at 855 structures destroyed and 71 damaged.

Containment, acreage of Creek Fire inches upward

9/27/20, 8:15 p.m.: The Creek Fire swelled an additional 11,444 acres over the weekend.

Thus far, firefighters have similarly gained added control of the blaze – inching containment of the fire to 39 percent.

Another 641 firefighters and other personnel joined the front, pushing total individuals working the Creek Fire to 3,726.

No additional buildings were destroyed in the weekend span.

Firefighters slowly increasing containment of Creek Fire

9/25/20, 8:51 a.m.: Fire officials did not report any growth of the Creek Fire Friday morning as it remains at 291,426 acres.

However, firefighters gained some more ground on the fire, bumping the containment up to 36 percent.

There are currently 3,085 individuals on the scene battling the Creek Fire.

The damage report remains at 855 buildings destroyed along with 71 structures damaged.

Fresno County offers property tax relief for fire victims

9/24/20, 12:50 p.m.: With over 850 structures destroyed, Fresno County is offering property tax relief for Creek Fire victims. 

Fresno County Assessor Paul Dictos is having his staff put together a tax relief application. Anyone interested should notify the county by visiting www.co.fresno.ca.us/departments/assessor or calling (559) 600-3534. 

Individuals who suffered $10,000 or more in damages to their property are eligible for a reassessment of their property value. 

There is a Dec. 10 deadline for taxpayers filing a claim for reassessment if they wish to defer their property tax payment until a corrected bill can be issued which reflects the reduced value. 

“We intend to be proactive and assist the property owners of Fresno County,” Dictos said in a statement. “We are prepared to move quickly as we all work to get through this difficult time, to ease the heavy burden that has disrupted the lives of so many.” 

Creek Fire hits 291k acres as containment slowly rises

9/24/20, 8:57 a.m.: As the fight to contain the Creek Fire rages on, the wildfire swelled to 291,426 acres Thursday morning.

Fire officials reported a 2% increase in containment, bringing the total to 34%, and the total personnel fighting the fire rose to 3,075.

CAL FIRE reports that the number of destroyed structures remains at 855 and damaged structures has halted at 71.

Fresno County has created a website to help connect anyone interested in donating to those affected by the Creek Fire.

Firefighters continue to make small gains against Creek Fire

9/23/20, 9:11 a.m.: Although the Creek Fire expanded by about 6,000 acres to total 289,695 acres Wednesday morning, fire officials reported a 2% increase in containment, pushing the total containment to 32%.

With the slight gain against the fire, the total personnel dropped to 3,106.

CAL FIRE has not reported any further structure damage or destruction.

Containment holds as Creek Fire sees small spread

9/22/20, 10:34 a.m.: A day after fire officials reported a 5% increase in containment of the Creek Fire, that number held overnight at 30% into Tuesday.

The Creek Fire grew by about 3,000 acres, bringing the overall total to 283,724.

The damage report now reads 855 structures destroyed and 71 buildings damaged.

CAL FIRE reports that there are still 3,171 firefighters working to contain the Creek Fire.

Creek Fire containment grows as boots-on-the-ground cracks 3,000

9/21/20, 9:58 p.m.: Firefighters have managed to contain 30 percent of the Creek Fire near Sierra National Forest.

It represents a 5 percent day-over-day increase in containment from Sunday.

Currently, the blaze sits at 280,425 acres with 840 buildings destroyed and an additional 71 damaged by the fire.

As containment has climbed, so too have the number of firefighters and additional support personnel on the ground. CAL FIRE reports 3,171 firefighters and support personnel currently assigned to the Creek Fire.


Firefighters pick up slight headway against Creek Fire

9/18/20, 8:25 a.m.: While the Creek Fire increased by about 4,000 acres overnight to total 248,256, fire officials reported some slight progress Friday morning. 

The fire containment increased to 20 percent, adding 2 percent since Thursday. 

Officials also report that 100 more personnel have joined the fight, bringing the total to 2,978. 

Yosemite National Park shutters over unhealthy air

9/17/20, 7:03 p.m. –Yosemite National Park is closed to visitors, owing to hazardous air quality from fires in the neighboring stretches of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The National Park Service closed the park at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Reopening of the park is contingent on continued monitoring of air quality, fire activity, and current smoke conditions.


Creek Fire expands overnight, containment holds steady

9/17/20, 9:00 a.m. – Fire officials report the Creek Fire has grown by over 20,000 acres to total 244,756 acres. 

With the increase in size, the fire remained at 18% contained overnight, and the total personnel fighting the fire remains at 2,878. 

Officials have not reported any new information regarding structure damage and destruction. 

Firefighters continue to make progress with Creek Fire

9/16/20, 9:25 a.m. – Fire officials report that the Creek Fire remains at 220,025 acres because they were unable to collect IR perimeter data on Tuesday, and although fire growth was observed through satellite intel, they were unable to determine the exact growth. 

Containment of the fire increased by a small margin to 18%, and officials still expect to have the fire fully contained by Oct. 15. 

There have been 632 structures destroyed as well as 52 structures damaged. Officials are about halfway through their damage assessment, so the numbers will increase in all likelihood. 

There are currently 2,878 people fighting the Creek Fire. 


After surveying Creek Fire, will much come of Harris, Newsom visit?

California Senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and Governor Gavin Newsom visited Fresno County Tuesday to survey the damage from the Creek Fire and took part in a briefing with fire officials. 

Harris and Newsom traveled to Auberry to Pine Ridge Elementary School, a rare structure still standing but in the middle of a heavily impacted area, for the briefing. 

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig and County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau were present at the briefing along with officials from the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. 

Magsig told The Sun that fire officials discussed the role that state-funded fire breaks have played in keeping the Creek Fire from devastating even more land than the 220,000-plus acres already burned. 

Here’s more from The Sun’s Daniel Gligich.


Harris touches down in Fresno, heads for Creek Fire

9/15/20, 12:48 p.m. – Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris touched down at Fresno-Yosemite International Airport at 10:46 a.m.

She headed to Pine Ridge Elementary School for a briefing with emergency personnel and Gov. Gavin Newsom. Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig is also in attendance.

Harris and Newsom are expected to visit an evacuation center following the briefing in the Sierra foothills.


Creek Fire containment climbs to 16%

9/14/20, 9:12 p.m. – Firefighters have nearly tripled containment from Thursday, reporting 16 percent of the Creek Fire contained in the Sierra foothills.

Monday night, the blaze sat at 212,744 acres of land consumed.


Trump spars with Newsom, Calif. officials

9/14/20, 8:45 p.m. – President Trump landed at Sacramento’s McClellan Park – the former Air Force Base currently housing many CAL FIRE planes – and met with several state and federal fire officials, as well as Governor Gavin Newsom and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. 

The president blamed the forest fires on poor forest management, leading to a build up in dead trees and leaves. 

“When trees fall down, after a short period of time, about 18 months, they become really dry,” Trump told reporters. “They become really like a matchstick. There’s no more water pouring through. They just explode. They can explode. When you have years of leaves, dried leaves on the ground, it just sets it up. It’s really a fuel for a fire. So they have to do something about it.” 

Here’s more from The Sun’s Daniel Gligich.


Firefighters wrangle 10% containment as Creek Fire cracks 200k acres

9/13/20, 7:58 p.m. – As winds continue to blow its smoke into the San Joaquin Valley basin, firefighters have managed to achieve 10 percent containment on the fast-spreading Creek Fire, fire officials announced Sunday night.

The blaze currently sits at 201,908 acres stretching across Shaver and Huntington Lakes and into the Sierra National Forest.

Thus far, 365 structures have been destroyed by the fire.


Mims headed to Sacramento for meet with Trump over wildfires

9/13/20, 4:33 p.m. – Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims is heading to California’s Capitol on Monday as part of an all-hands briefing on the state’s on-going wildfire season for President Donald Trump.

Mims’ attendance squashes a minimal rumor that Trump would be visiting a wildfire complex during his visit to the Golden State. Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said Trump “wants all the players to come to him for convenience.”


Trump books Monday swing to Calif. over wildfire response

9/12/20, 10:26 a.m. – As fires rage across the Sierra Nevada mountains, President Donald Trump is heading to the Golden State, the White House announced Saturday.

Trump is scheduled to visit McClellan Park – the former Air Force Base in Sacramento – which has served as the statewide operations command center for CAL FIRE during the 2020 wild fire season.

The news was first reported by FOX LA’s Elex Michaelson.

Trump signed a major disaster declaration in mid-August as the state’s first batch of wildfires ignited. Over the Labor Day weekend, two fires in particular – the El Dorado Fire and Creek Fire – blanketed the state in ash and increased the stakes during the wildfire season.

White House involvement in the Creek Fire response – covering Huntington and Shaver Lakes along with Sierra National Forest – has been on-going.

During a Friday visit to the Creek Fire command post at Sierra High School, State Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno) joined CAL FIRE chief Mark Johnson on a conference call with White House officials, Borgeas’ team said.


Officials see turning point in Creek Fire as first containment reported

9/10/20, 7:50 p.m. – For the first time since the Creek Fire started on Sep. 4, fire officials have reported some containment. 

Officials reported at a Thursday evening briefing that the fire is 6 percent contained, a positive trend as the firefighters start to gain some ground in the fight. 

“I think today was really the first day that we’ve shifted from being primarily on the defense to now being on the offense,” said Dean Gould, U.S. Forest Service official. “That means we’re taking the fight back to the fire instead of reacting across the board to it and just trying to save what we could. Now we’re very deliberately doing burn operations, we’re getting more line in and we’re really starting to turn the tide back on it. I believe today is really a turning point for us.” 

After having minimal growth on Wednesday, the Creek Fire grew by about 9,000 acres Thursday to total 175,893. 

Members from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office reported that all evacuation orders and warnings are still in place and unchanged from yesterday. 

Fire officials also discussed the explosion at China Peak Wednesday night. The explosion was caused by the fire at a facility that stored explosives for avalanche equipment. There were no injuries from the explosion, and an investigation is currently underway to determine if the explosives were stored properly. 


Creek Fire halts expansive spread as more firefighters arrive to Sierras

9/9/2020, 7:28 p.m. – The spread of the Creek Fire, which mushroomed past acreage in California’s deadliest wildfire – the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. – has dramatically slowed down, Forest Service and CAL FIRE officials announced Wednesday night.

The fire has consumed 166,965 acres, up 4,132 acres from Tuesday night.

However, with the minimal spread, the blaze remains at zero-percent containment with 1,036 firefighters deployed to the region.

Favorable conditions with clearer skies allowed for increased aerial activity to mitigate spread in the southern zone of the Creek Fire, officials said in a Wednesday briefing.

Evacuation orders and warnings – listed below – remain in place both in Fresno and Madera counties.

Fresno County Evacuation Orders

  • Shaver Lake down to Cressman Road, including Cressman Road
  • Big Creek
  • Huntington Lake
  • Camp Sierra
  • High Sierra areas, which include:  Florence Lake, Ward Lake, Portal Forebay, Edison Lake Mono Hot Springs, Kaiser and all campgrounds.
  • The area west of Tollhouse, along Auberry Road west to Powerhouse Road.  
  • Alder Springs, Mile High, Meadow Lakes, Big Sandy, Mono Wind Casino, Jose Basin & Italian Bar.
  • Dinkey Creek, Wishon & Courtright Reservoirs.
  • Tollhouse Road at Peterson Road down to Lodge Road
  • Beal Fire Road
  • Powerhouse Road to the San Joaquin River
  • Entire town of Auberry, which extends from the San Joaquin River on Powerhouse Road to Auberry Road in both directions out to Hwy. 168.  This includes the points next to Prather and next to Cressman’s General Store.
  • Sycamore and Burrough Valley.
  • Watts Valley from Maxon Road to Pittman Hill Road.  
  • Maxon Road to Trimmer Springs Road.
  • Humphrey’s Station to Tollhouse Road.
  • Humphrey’s Station to Pittman Hill Road to Sample Road

Fresno County Evacuation Warnings

  • -All residents living in the Prather / Auberry areas.  This includes:  Auberry Rd. to Millerton Rd. and Tollhouse Rd. to Nicholas Rd. to Hwy 168.

Madera County Evacuation Orders:

  • Bass Lake
  • Road 223 from Road 426 to Road 221
  • Road 222 between Road 274 and Road 226
  • Road 221 between Road 200 and Road 226 and all spur roads such as Kowana Lane, Pahuma Way, Nielsen Road, Quail Flats Drive, Sunridge Drive and Klette’s Pride Way
  • Road 226 between Road 221 and Road 222 and all spur roads such as Bishop Park Place, Deer Springs Lane, Walker Ranch Road, and Keller Road
  • Road 224 between Road 226 and Road 200 and all spur roads such as Horn Road, Mountain Springs Road, Priest Road, Wilcox Drive, Wild Plum Lane, and Quail Hollow Court
  • Road 225 between Road 222 and Road 274 and all spur roads such as Amber Lane, Willow Creek Drive, and Road 228
  • Road 222 between Road 226 and Road 200 and all spur roads such as Wah Up Way, Weatherly Lane and Buckhorn Court
  • Road 200 on the northside of road between Road 221 and Road 222 and all spur road such as Wild Plum Lane, Tahoot Drive, Maranatha Drive, Golden Acorn Court, Ellis Way, Rocky Road, Cougar Springs Trail
  • North Fork
  • Road 225 east of Road 274 and all spur roads, such as Douglas Ranger Station Road, Cascadel Road, Peckinpah Road, Mission Road, Tu-Nobi Way, Rainbow Drive, Lark Lane, Boulder Creek Drive, Tera Tera Ranch Road, and Italian Bar Road, Road 235 between Road 222 and Italian Bar Road
  • Central Camp
  • Mammoth Pool Trailer Park to Road 233
  • All campgrounds off Beasore Road north of Grizzley Road
  • All campgrounds off Minarets Road
  • Minarets
  • Arnold Meadows
  • Clover Meadow
  • Whiskey Falls
  • Mammoth Pool
  • Italian Bar Rd. from Road 225 to Reddinger Lake
  • Kinsman Flat Subdivision
  • Cascadel Woods

Madera County Evacuation Warnings

  • Oakhurst to Road 200 east of Highway 41
  • Coarsegold
  • Eastside of Highway 41 between Road 222 and Road 200
  • Fresno/Madera County Line and all spur roads, such as Carmen Ranch Road, Ciatana Creek Road, Corrine Lake Road, Box Canyon Road, Tunoi Place and Smalley Cove Campground
  • Road 222 between Road 200
  • Southside of Road 200 between Road 221 and Road 222 and all spur roads, such as Oak Junction Lane Wyle Ranch Road, Lumburg Road and Fast Lane
  • North Fork
  • Sierra Sky Ranch (Road 632) and surrounding area
  • Mammoth Pool trailer park to Road 233, down Road 225

Relief efforts begin in earnest for victims of Creek Fire

9/9/2020, 6:30 p.m. – As the Red Cross utilizes Clovis North High School in northeast Fresno as its intake center for rescued residents and visitors to the Sierras amid the Creek Fire, they have partnered with the Fresno Chamber of Commerce to raise funds to provide relief.


Fire encroaches on China Peak

9/8/2020, 9:00 p.m. – The regional ski resort reported that the Creek Fire had arrived to the mountain range east of Huntington Lake.

“We are aware that the fire has reached our mountain and a strike team is working hard to manage the flames and protect the structures on the base area,” the resort said in a statement.

“Employee housing has been damaged, but we have no other information at this time.”


Fresno Co. issues additional evacuation orders for foothill communities

9/8/2020, 8:00 p.m. – The Fresno County Sheriff, in conjunction with incident command, announced additional evacuation orders.

The evacuation order covers the following areas:

  • Community of Tollhouse
  • Community of Bourrough Valley
  • Community of Cold Springs Rancheria
  • Watts Valley Road from Pittman Hill to Maxon Road
  • Maxon Road to Trimmer Springs Road
  • Pittman Hill from Humphreys Station to Sample Road to include all tertiary roads

First reports of building destruction

9/8/2020, 3:45 p.m. – With the Creek Fire up to about 162,833 acres, CAL FIRE reports that 365 buildings either damaged or destroyed.

The size of the Creek Fire now exceeds that of the 2018 Camp Fire, which notoriously ravaged the city of Paradise, Calif. and is still the deadliest wildfire in California’s history.

Among the first block of 82 buildings destroyed by the Creek Fire, 60 were single-family residences, two were commercial structures, and 20 buildings were considered minor structures. 

Officials expect high winds Tuesday, including gusts above 50 mph, to contribute to the rapid fire growth, and crews are working to construct a containment line.


Look: An up-to-the-minute map of the Creek Fire


Zero containment as fire swells, threatening broadcast towers

9/8/2020, 9:30 a.m. – State and local firefighters continue to battle the Creek Fire near Sierra National Forest, but have thus far been unable to manage any containment.

In a morning update, CAL FIRE reported that the fire consumed an additional 8,000 acres of foothills overnight – bringing the fire to 143,929 acres.

Meanwhile, two staples of the Fresno-Visalia media market – ABC affiliate KFSN and KMJ580 – are in dire straits as the blaze threatens their broadcasting towers.

The two networks alerted viewers and listeners of potential outages.

KMJ News Director Blake Taylor noted that activity in the area knocked the news-talk radio station off air on Monday.


Cressman’s General Store – Shaver Lake favorite – burned down

9/8/20, 8:25 a.m. – Cressman’s General Store and Gas Station, a beloved tourist stop in the Shaver Lake area atop the four-lane of Tollhouse Road, was consumed by the Creek Fire, photos show.

The owners of Cressman’s released a statement on their Facebook page addressing the loss of the store:

“To our mountain community, we know you have watched and endured this terrible tragedy with us. A beloved historical landmark has been lost and the pain our family, and our community is enduring is almost suffocating at times. The mountain communities are hurting as a whole.

“We are very touched at the outreach from everyone with offers to help. We are still processing the details, but we will rebuild this landmark and continue to support our community members.

“Our love and thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. Our home located along pine ridge is a complete loss as well as our beloved Cressman’s. For those of you who live in our mountain community or love to visit it, we will rebuild as a community.”


Watch: An aerial look at the spread of the Creek Fire

9/8/20, 7:00 a.m. –


CAL FIRE: Blaze expands to 135,000 acres

9/7/2020, 8:18 p.m. – Since it lit ablaze on Friday, the Creek Fire has expanded to 135,000 acres, CAL FIRE officials reported on Monday night. More than 5,300 buildings in the region – spanning from Huntington to Bass Lake – remain threatened.

The blaze remains at zero-percent containment, fire officials said.

Madera Co. Sheriff: Bass Lake ordered to evacuate

9/7/20, 5:19 p.m.


Wildfires force closure of Southern, Sierra Nevada Forests

9/7/20 4:30 p.m. – The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday afternoon that it is temporarily closing the Southern and Sierra Nevada National Forests in California because of the rapidly expanding wildfires.

The temporary closures became effective at 5 p.m. Monday.

Randy Moore, the regional forester, said in a social media video that the closures were due to the significant winds, extreme heat, and dry vegetation confronting firefighters battling blazes throughout the state.

He said the closures were necessary for public and firefighter safety.

“I’m aware that these decisions will cause inconveniences to some,” Moore said. “But in the name of safety, which is a core value of the U.S. Forest Service, I really feel that this is the right decision for the right reason at the right time. I want to thank you for your continuing support in these challenging times.”

Here’s more from GVWire


Firefighters save Shaver Lake as Creek Fire Grows to Nearly 80,000 Acres

Firefighters working in steep terrain through Sunday night saved Shaver Lake from flames roaring down hillsides toward a marina in the Sierra mountains of central California.

Sheriff’s deputies went door to door to make sure residents were complying with orders to leave. Officials hoped to keep the fire from pushing west into rural towns along State Route 41 and possibly Yosemite National Park.

The aggressive Creek Fire grew to 78,790 acres, with no containment over Sunday and into Monday morning, Cal Fire officials said.

Here’s more from GVWire.


More than 200 airlifted out of Mammoth Pool in daring rescue

A massive rescue operation airlifted more than 200 people to safety after the fast-moving Creek Fire trapped them near the Mammoth Pool Reservoir in Madera County.

Starting on Saturday night lasting into Sunday morning, a Black Hawk helicopter and a large Chinook helicopter flew 214 people to the National Guard base at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

The two aircrafts conducted three lifts from the Mammoth Pool Reservoir along the Fresno/Madera County border, per the National Guard.

Once at the base, emergency medical workers helped triage and take the injured to local hospitals, including Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC).

Here’s more from ABC7.

The San Joaquin Valley Sun
Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.