Creek Fire: Fresno County taking steps towards emergency financial help

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Damage from the Creek Fire will easily be in the millions, and Fresno County is taking steps to get financial help from the state and federal governments.

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig got a good look at Bald Mountain Wednesday as part of his daily tours of the Creek Fire burning in his district.

He's shared a lot of his view on Facebook, trying to be the eyes for people who had to evacuate and don't know what's left of what they left behind.

Magsig has a hopeful outlook.

"The amount of property they've been able to save is amazing," the supervisor said. "There have been structures that have been lost around Huntington, or course some there in and around the Cressman's area, Shaver Lake area. But by and large most of the structures, most of the homes, the businesses have been saved because of the efforts of fire personnel."

But the extreme damage is undeniable. Hundreds of homes have burned as the fire spread across more than 160,000 acres in just its first four days.

"This is cataclysmic," said Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes. "This is probably going to end up being the biggest fire in Fresno County's history."

Mendes has seen the fire up close too, and he's seen neighbors banding together to take care of evacuated people and animals.

Now, the supervisors get their chance to help. They'll vote Thursday to ratify an emergency order, making sure Fresno County qualifies for state and federal emergency assistance.

"We have critical infrastructure which is being damaged like hydroelectric power lines and hydroelectric facilities, which are being saved," Magsig said. "And so infrastructure, property, all of that is going to be damaged and so when it comes time to rebuild it's going to be very costly."

The governor has already declared a state of emergency.

A federal disaster declaration could also come soon, paving the way for FEMA to help people who've lost their homes, and helping the state and county pay to repair the damage, possibly even before firefighters get full containment.
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