Creek Fire: Burn victims now facing long road to recovery

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "You can see my arm, my hand here and my outer arm all the way to my shoulder and then my calf," said Christian Aviles

This is the harsh reality Christian and Priscilla Aviles must live with after surviving the Creek Fire.

The scars and wounds on their bodies now serve as cruel reminders of what they had to endure.

RELATED: 'It was like a ring of fire': Family trapped by Creek Fire recalls moments of terror, despair

"This leg is completely burned from my ankle all the way up to this part of my thigh," said Priscilla.

The raging inferno tore through their campsite leaving them stranded at the Mammoth Pool Reservoir.

The US National Guard had to fly in to rescue them and hundreds of others.

Christian captured the moment the first helicopter arrived.

"These men from the National Guard, they risked their lives and they came," said Karla Carcamo, Christian and Priscilla's sister.

After landing in Fresno, the siblings and many others were treated at Community Regional Medical Center.

Shana Henry has been a nurse at the burn unit for a decade but never encountered a situation quite like this one before.

"Essentially it was treated like a mass casualty incident," she said.

Henry said the hours between when they were burned to when they were treated were critical for their injuries.

"We do want to cool that burn off, but it is important to be able to seek treatment as fast as possible," she said.

At Mammoth Pool,17-year-old Priscilla says a friend dunked her in the lake to stop the burning, but it didn't help.

"When you get out of the lake, even just the air hitting you, the hot air, it feels like you are burning all over again," said Priscilla.

The recovery process has been intense and grueling for her. She has third-degree burns all over her body.

"You stretch and you feel your skin and it feels like ripping, but it is not, it is just stretching," she said.

Her injuries came with an even heavier emotional toll. She now suffers from PTSD.

"Them turning on the lights, all you picture is fire and you get nightmares, bad nightmares," said Priscilla.

The last three weeks have been almost unbearable for the Aviles siblings.

But the lows have also been met with breakthroughs and unwavering support from medical staff.

"At a moment of uncertainty they have been pretty much our rock," said Carcamo.

Christian and Priscilla still have a long journey ahead.

But they're fighters, tackling every obstacle on their path with the same will power and force they used to survive the Creek Fire.

"Now we are on the road to recovery," said Christian. "We're positive and I'm sure we are going to get out of this."

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