Creek Fire: Some Madera Co. residents stay behind to help first responders

NORTH FORK, Calif. (KFSN) -- Beyond road closures in the now virtually empty town of North Fork, you can find helpers that aren't in uniform.

Despite evacuation orders and concern of the unpredictability of the Creek Fire, Casey Robinson and his family stayed back to keep the Chevron his wife manages open.

"They've protected our town very well so far and most of the structures. They're doing an awesome job and we're going to stay open for them as long as we can," he says.

They did so knowing the closest gas station is 4 miles away.

He says, "It's a lot easier for the sheriffs and fire department to stop here and get gas than travel further away to get fuel and food."

Their support of local heroes goes beyond staying open and offering free coffee to first responders.

Their building's exterior boasts a tribute to the day our world changed. Each carving on the 9-11 memorial represents a local military member protecting our freedom.

While the town sits quiet, the faint sounds of crews building containment lines bring a glimmer of hope to the thousands of Madera County evacuees.

Including the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians.

Tribal council treasurer Maryann McGovran says they've worked closely with the Madera County Sheriff, CAL FIRE, and the forest service to protect their people and parcels of tribal land.

McGovran says, "It's very hard to predict the outcome of it so yes, we want to protect our cultural resources. But life is first, safety of our boots on the ground firefighters and homes obviously."

In addition to last year's flooding, the community has dealt with a number of fires over the last seven years, including the Ferguson, Willow and Lake fires.

However, McGovran says this fire is unlike any other.

She adds, "We've dealt with it all. We persevere, we're a strong tribe and we work together and we work great with our local community so we'll get past it."
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