Creek Fire: Terrified families flee surrounded by flames, return to destroyed homes

As one family made a mad dash from the Creek Fire, they found themselves lost - surrounded by fire, scorched earth and no clear path out.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the Creek Fire grew to 36,000 acres on Saturday in Fresno and Madera Counties, those forced to flee relayed stories of fear, pain, and loss.

Some of the scariest moments of the day came from Mammoth Pool Campground where helicopters have been rescuing people trapped by the fire.

RELATED: Creek Fire grows to 36,000 acres; hundreds rescued from Mammoth Pool Reservoir, many injured

Action News spoke to Morgan Kemple. She was out of harm's way, but her two daughters and 11 other family members were trapped.

"My sister called and said she looked up and they were playing in the creek and she saw flames so they ran to camp and gathered up as much as they could and then it all burned over real fast," she said.

In 2016, Kemple lost her husband in a wildfire. She couldn't imagine losing her daughters too.

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As of 1 am on Sunday, at least 163 people have been rescued from Mammoth Pool, Minarets, and Cascadel Woods.

She didn't have to, her family was safe. All she can think about now is holding her children.

"I'm going to hug them like nobody's business," she said.

As Lindsey Abbott and her family made a mad dash from the Creek Fire they found themselves lost - surrounded by fire, scorched earth and no clear path out.

"It was so hot, you could feel the flames going through the window," she said.

They never anticipated that this would be their reality when they planned their camping trip near Whisky Falls in Madera County.

RELATED: Creek Fire disrupts holiday weekend plans for many families, evacuations underway

They were fortunate to come across a stranger who guided them out.

"Seeing all the fire that had completely covered our main road, I thought, 'Man, I don't know what we are going to do or where we were going to go or how this is going to end'."

Others like Kakoa Alexander were forced to evacuate.

He and his brother live in the community of Big Creek, one of the first places to be evacuated.

After the sun went down the flames burning there became visible.

Alexander didn't know if he has a home to go back to.

"We know our aunt's house is gone, we know the school is most likely gone and our friend's house is gone," he said.

Instead of staying with family, he and his brother made their way to the Shaver Lake Community Center.

There they helped others put together meals for firefighters.

"They are out there risking their lives for us and for our homes," he said.
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