Creek Fire: 348,085 acres burned, 61% contained, latest evacuations orders

CAL FIRE officials say the Creek Fire is the largest single fire in California's recorded history.

ByABC30.Com Staff KFSN logo
Monday, October 19, 2020
Creek Fire: 348,085 acres burned, 60% contained
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While conditions have allowed for air support over the last few days, they haven't helped slow the fire down.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Creek Fire was first sparked on Friday, September 4, and 348,085 acres have burned as of Saturday morning with 60% containment. CAL FIRE officials say it is the largest single fire in California's recorded history.

At least 927 structures have been damaged or destroyed, and 119 are threatened. The wildfire caused 30,000 residents of Fresno County and 15,000 residents of Madera County to evacuate when it first broke out.

EVACUATION ZONE MAP: Click here to see the current evacuation zone for the Creek Fire

EVACUATION ORDERS AND WARNINGS: Click here for an interactive map showing evacuation orders and warnings.

Friday, October 16

The Creek Fire is now 344,042 acres, and containment increased to 60%.

Firefighters are monitoring hot spots on the western side of the fire. CAL FIRE said that due to weather conditions, a firing operation planned for Friday had been canceled for the southern part of the blaze.

On Thursday, FEMA sent a letter to Governor Newsom on Wednesday denying the request for a major disaster declaration specifically for individual and public assistance and hazard mitigation.

Full containment on the wildfire is still expected by the end of the month.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

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  • FEMA denies individual and public assistance, leaving residents worried and frustrated
  • 'Fire wives' raise money for volunteer firefighters whose homes were burned down
  • Creek Fire: Resources for evacuees affected by blaze
  • Where to bring large animals, livestock displaced by Creek Fire
  • Here's how you can help people impacted by the Creek Fire
  • Has your job been hit by the Creek Fire? Here's how to get financial help
  • Local leaders answer Creek Fire recovery questions at community meeting
  • Creek Fire: Sierra communities waiting for FEMA assistance
  • Mountain businesses push on after Creek Fire damages shops
  • Creek Fire: French company donates items for recovery effort
  • Creek Fire: Winter weather may present more challenges for residents
  • Creek Fire: Crews protect resort, ranger station, and homes on eastern flank
  • Creek Fire evacuees apply for federal funds to help rebuild their homes
  • Creek Fire donation center travels uphill to aid with re-entry efforts
  • Creek Fire: 1 school planning to return to distance learning next week
  • 'It was like a ring of fire': Family trapped by Creek Fire recalls moments of terror, despair
  • Creek Fire: Burn victims now facing long road to recovery
  • Video shows fast-moving Creek Fire overrun firefighters trying to save neighborhood
  • Creek Fire: Fresno County residents who lost home re-enter area
  • Thursday, October 15

    Firefighters continue working to control the biggest single wildfire in California's history, which has now burned more than 341,000 acres and is 58% contained.

    Currently, the wildfire is about eight to 10 miles away from the town of Mammoth Lakes. Fire officials say it's primarily burning in higher elevations in the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada.

    While conditions have allowed for air support over the last few days, they haven't helped slow the fire down.

    A community meeting was held on Thursday night at 6 pm at Sierra High School.

    Wednesday, October 14

    Firefighters are checking containment lines to ensure their hold on the Creek Fire's outskirts. The wildfire remained at 337,655 acres overnight and is 55% contained.

    CAL FIRE said crews are bracing for more smoke in the area in the coming days, which will impact the visibility and air quality.

    Officials are also anticipating critical fire weather near the fire zone and other parts of the state starting Wednesday night.

    Tuesday, October 13

    Firefighters have gained the upper hand on the Creek Fire, which has burned more than 337,000 acres and is 55% contained.

    Crews say favorable weather in the last 48 hours allowed them to make progress.

    Firefighters say the flames in Madera County are 10 miles west of Mammoth Lakes, and the burning has slowed because of all the rocks and previous burn scars.

    As of Tuesday, 22 firefighters had suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze.

    Monday, October 12

    The Creek Fire has burned more than 333,000 acres and is 55% contained.

    Fireteams took advantage of the cooler temperatures over the weekend to get some control over the flames. CAL FIRE said firefighters have also started repairing damages to soil caused while suppressing the blaze.

    As of Monday, 21 firefighters have suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze. They are all expected to fully recover.

    Friday, October 9

    Firefighters expect to have full containment of the Creek Fire in about two weeks as the blaze reached 331,966 acres. It is currently 49% contained.

    CAL FIRE said the air quality is expected to improve by Friday afternoon.

    The Sierra National Forest will allow residents to re-enter only to remove personal property, including boats from Huntington Lake. All boats are to be removed by October 15.

    Investigators have still not released any details about what sparked the fire last month.

    Thursday, October 8

    Firefighters have the Creek Fire nearly halfway contained, and the fire grew to 330,899 acres overnight.

    Crews are facing smoky conditions while battling the blaze. Fire officials are still hoping to have full containment on the fire by the end of the month.

    A meeting will be held tonight at Sierra High School for the communities impacted by the Creek Fire.

    You can watch the meeting live on Fresno County's Facebook page or attend in person at the high school in Tollhouse at 6 pm.

    Wednesday, October 7

    As of Wednesday morning, he Creek Fire is 328,603 acres and 49% contained.

    Officials say the wildfire is still "extremely active." Crews from all over the state and country are still working to battle the flames near the area of Kaiser Pass Road.

    Fire officials said their main priority is protecting the structures near Edison Lake and Mono Hot Springs as the fire burns to the northeast. The blaze has cost more than $100 million to battle so far.

    CAL FIRE and Sierra National Forest officials will provide an update during a virtual live stream at 7 pm.

    Tuesday, October 6

    The Creek Fire has burned more than 326,000 acres and is 49% contained.

    As temperatures slowly cool, firefighters say humidity and cloud cover could help in the fire fight. CAL FIRE added that "drought stressed fuels" will make for continuous fire activity.

    As of Tuesday, 13 firefighters had suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze.

    The number of structures threatened by the Creek Fire has significantly dropped over the last 48 hours. Firefighters hope to have it fully contained by the end of the month.

    There will be a virtual community meeting at 6 pm on Tuesday.

    Monday, October 5

    Firefighters are facing new challenges battling the Creek Fire while has been burning for one month now.

    The fire grew to more than 322,774 acres by evening with containment at 49%. CAL FIRE crews initially said containment had grown to 62% on Sunday, but officials said that number was an error due to multiple agencies inputting conflicting data.

    Campsites and communities around Florence Lake, Muir Trail Ranch and Blayney Meadows are under mandatory evacuation orders. Highway 168 is closed at Kaiser Road Pass.

    As of Monday, 12 firefighters had suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze.

    During a briefing on Monday evening, officials said the smoky air that's been impacting the air quality across the Central Valley is expected to clear up this week.

    Meteorologists said a system from the Pacific Ocean is heading to the Valley and will push the bad air out starting Tuesday, bringing relief to residents.

    Friday, October 2

    The Creek Fire burning in eastern Fresno and Madera Counties is 312,063 acres and containment was 45% on Friday morning.

    At least nine firefighters have received minor injuries while battling this blaze.

    Rangers and the Fresno County sheriff's office will allow people to temporarily enter certain areas to collect belongings that were left when the wildfire forced them to flee. People can also close up their cabins for the winter.

    Authorities will open roadblocks this weekend (October 3 and October 4) and next weekend (October 10 and October 11) from 7 am to 1 pm only.

    Thursday, October 1

    The Creek Fire has grown to 309,796 acres as containment holds at 44%. The wildfire continues to threaten more than 4,000 structures, and five more firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the blaze.

    Fire resources are mopping up hot spots and ensuring structures are protected in the southern area of the blaze. Officials say the fire will be more active this week because of higher temperatures.

    On Thursday night, county leaders and officials came before community members face to face at Sierra High School to explain what steps are next in recovering and rebuilding.

    Wednesday, September 30

    As of Wednesday morning, a fire break is cut around 44% of the Creek Fire, which is now more than 307,000 acres.

    The top priority is making sure the 4,500 threatened structures are protected as the hot weather will pose a challenge in the fire fight. CAL FIRE said three firefighters had suffered minor injuries battling the blaze.

    Crews are still hoping to have the Creek Fire fully contained by the end of next month.

    Tuesday, September 29

    Fire crews are working to increase containment on the Creek Fire burning in the Fresno and Madera County mountains as temperatures warm back up this week.

    The blaze is currently more than 305,000 acres and 44% contained. More than 4,000 structures remain threatened.

    Among those being allowed to return home, a few hundred of them still don't have any power.

    Firefighters expect to have the flames entirely under control by the end of next month. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

    Monday, September 28

    Windy conditions have posed a challenge for firefighters battling the Creek Fire in eastern Fresno and Madera Counties, which has now burned more than 300,000 acres with 39% containment.

    Crews have been busy working an active area that flared up Sunday near Beashore Meadows and the Grizzly Road turnoff, which is about 15 miles north of Bass Lake.

    Helicopters were busy dropping water on the north face of Little Shuteye Peak on Sunday afternoon. Another area firefighters are watching is the south fork of the San Joaquin River near Mono Hot Springs.

    CAL FIRE said there is fire activity in the south eastern portion of the blaze near 80 Road and Potter Pass. A spot fire has also threatened the containment lines south of China Peak.

    Monday, residents in two more evacuation areas near Big Creek and Burrough Mountain will be allowed temporary access back to their homes.

    It comes as more areas once under evacuation orders and warnings are now lifted.

    Friday, September 25

    Firefighters say the Creek Fire is now 39% contained after burning more than 291,000 acres.

    During a briefing on Friday evening, Fresno County officials said they plan to begin repopulation efforts on Sunday. More fire evacuees forced out of their neighborhoods will be able to return to their homes.

    Officials said they will allow residents in the Pine Ridge, Cressmans, and Shaver Lake areas to return by Sunday.

    The Fresno County Sheriff's Office will provide bottled water and bathrooms to those evacuees during the repopulation efforts this weekend.

    Fire crews have been working on this wildfire for 21 days straight. Officials said the fire fight is transitioning to new teams, so the current ones can finally go off duty. They would typically have been replaced over a week ago.

    CAL FIRE officials say the fire was not as active for the northern flank of the wildfire overnight, but smoke did settle over the area which could increase warming and dry conditions. Flames were active in the southern region of the fire.

    Fresno County officials are taking evacuees back into the fire zone to give them a look at what is left of their homes.

    Only residents in Zones F1M, F1TE and F2JB will be granted temporary access. It applies to only those who have had had their homes destroyed or damaged.

    Check-in starts at 8 am at Foothill Elementary School on Auberry Road in Prather, and residents must check out by 4 pm.

    Thursday, September 24

    Containment on the Creek Fire is moving forward. Firefighters say the blaze is now 36% contained after burning more than 291,000 acres.

    Winds around caused the flames to grow overnight on the northern flank of the fire.

    Firefighters will also be keeping a watchful eye for the potential of shifting wind on Saturday, as well as the potential for record-breaking heat on Sunday and Monday.

    The Creek Fire is expected to be fully contained by late October.

    Wednesday, September 23

    The Creek Fire is now nearly 300,000 acres and containment is at 34%.

    Winds caused the blaze to spread further north into the backcountry, fire officials said.

    Damage assessment teams are 98% complete with their review through the areas charred by flames. A final report on structure loss is not yet available.

    CAL FIRE said they expect the fire to be contained by October 31.

    Tuesday, September 22

    The Creek Fire grew to 286,519 acres by Tuesday evening and containment is at 32%, CAL FIRE said. This makes it the largest single fire in California's recorded history, an official said.

    The five larger fires are complex fires, formed after several fires combined. California's records date back to 1932.

    Officials said 855 structures are destroyed, 71 damaged and 6,723 are threatened. Damage assessment is at 98%.

    502 of the structures destroyed are single-family homes, which Sierra National Forest Supervisor Dean Gould called a 'dramatic loss'.

    However, he added that crews have been able to save more than 96% of homes that were in 'true imminent danger' from the fire.

    Fire officials say they are monitoring warm and dry conditions that could increase fire activity throughout the week, and maintaining a hold over the northern zone of the wildfire is a priority.

    Officials are also taking steps to make sure when people return home, they can do so safely.

    Monday, September 21

    As of Monday evening, the Creek Fire has burned 280,425 acres and containment is at 30%. At least 926 structures have been affected by the flames - 855 destroyed and 71 damaged - and 7,759 are threatened.

    Hundreds of households in evacuation zones remain without power because of the blaze.

    Damage assessment on the Fresno County side of the fire is nearly complete at 98%.

    Friday, September 18

    During a briefing on Friday evening, forest officials said containment of the Creek Fire has grown to 22%.

    Crews have assessed about 90% of structures in the fire area, and have found 842 structures destroyed and 71 structures damaged. More than 8,000 structures are still under threat.

    The military personnel will be joining the fire fight on Tuesday.

    Officials said 21 firefighters have sustained minor injuries while battling the Creek Fire.

    Thursday, September 17

    The Creek Fire is now the 10th largest wildfire in California's modern history after 246,756 acres have burned. On Thursday evening, officials said the containment is now at 20% and that at least 783 structures have been destroyed and 67 structures have been damaged.

    Crews have assessed approximately 75% of structures. 8,561 structures are still under threat.

    More than 200 Marines and ten members of the Navy will arrive in Central California this Saturday and Sunday.

    Wednesday, September 16

    The wildfire has grown to 228,025 acres with 18% containment as of Wednesday evening.

    During a briefing, forest officials said military personnel from different branches, including 200 Marines and 10 members of the Navy, are arriving 'very shortly' to help battle the flames.

    They added that over 2 million pounds of dead and downed wood is serving as fuel for the wildfire to grow, hampering containment efforts.

    Crews are allowing the fire to move towards the north side where it will run into natural barriers. Officials said 742 structures have been destroyed and 61 structures have been damaged. 9,438 structures are threatened.

    The damage assessment for the wildfire area is about 57% complete.

    Firefighters said the northern side of the fire had the most activity overnight, while the southern and western areas remained calm. More evacuations orders were reduced to warnings in Madera County.

    Tuesday, September 15

    CAL FIRE officials say the Creek Fire grew to 220,025 acres overnight on Tuesday and containment grew to 18%.

    In total, approximately 632 structures have been destroyed, 52 were damaged and 9,932 are threatened by the flames. Damage assessment was 50% complete.

    Officials say their firefighting efforts are being hampered due to the thick smoke. It's keeping airplanes and helicopters grounded and unable to help by dropping water and fire retardant on the flames.

    Monday, September 14

    The Creek Fire grew overnight to 212,744 acres, CAL FIRE said on Monday morning.

    During the evening briefing, officials said containment had grown to 16%, and at least 518 structures had been damaged or destroyed. They added that 43% of structures had been assessed for damage.

    Firefighters say heavy smoke from the Castle Fire, part of the SQF Complex Fire, in Tulare County drifted north over the Creek Fire on Sunday. The smoke settled into lower elevations on Sunday night and many woke up to a thick haze on Monday morning.

    Crews say winds are expected to be moving the Creek Fire flames into the deep canyons. Damage assessment was 36% as of Monday morning.

    Sunday, September 13

    The Creek Fire surpassed 200,000 acres on Sunday and containment over the wildfire grew to 10%.

    The sheriff's office reduced evacuation orders to warnings for some properties in the Bass Lake and North Fork areas. Warnings were lifted for much of the Highway 41 corridor between Road 200 and Bass Lake Road.

    At least six homes have been destroyed in Madera County, along with more than 365 structures in Fresno County.

    Saturday, September 12

    During a briefing on Saturday evening, officials said the containment of the Creek Fire has grown to 8% and the acreage remains at 196,667. They say crews have been successful with adding new lines along the ground, but this is the fourth straight day with no air attack due to the thick smoke.

    No new evacuation orders or warnings have been issued, but the Fresno County Sheriff's Office says it arrested three people for driving through roadblocks.

    The Madera County Sheriff's Office says it can now confirm at least six homes have burned, and those owners have been notified.

    PHOTOS: Stunning images from the Creek Fire

    1 of 54
    The smoldering remains of a structure along Auberry Road, where Creek Fire tore through and jumped CA-168, on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Fresno County, California.
    Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

    Friday, September 11

    During a briefing on Friday evening, officials said the wildfire has grown to 182,225 acres with 6% containment. There were 1,811 firefighters battling it.

    They said 17% of 4,900 structures in the fire area had been inspected and provided a breakdown of how many had been impacted. Seven single-family homes have been damaged and 92 destroyed, two businesses have been damaged and five destroyed, and five outbuildings have been damaged and 139 destroyed.

    Most of the buildings damaged or destroyed are in Fresno County, officials said. One person has been arrested for driving through a roadblock.

    Fire officials say it will likely be weeks until the evacuees can return home.

    Thursday, September 10

    Firefighters gained 6% containment over the 175,893-acre Creek Fire on Thursday. During a briefing on that evening, officials said it was the first day firefighters were on the offense instead of the defense, calling it a 'turning point' in their fight against the flames.

    Earlier in the day, a second air attack team was grounded due to the heavy smoke. The aircraft dropped more than 100,000 gallons of flame retardant on Wednesday, officials say.

    The County of Fresno also passed an emergency proclamation on Thursday, passed with a 5-0 vote.

    Wednesday, September 9

    The Creek Fire grew to 166,965 acres with 0% containment on Wednesday. During a briefing on Wednesday night, fire officials detailed the efforts underway to protect homes and addressed concerns from evacuees on when they'll be able to return.

    For now, authorities said the thousands of residents forced out by flames should prepare to spend weeks away from their houses.

    One area of concern is near Bass Lake, where bulldozers are currently cutting lines to protect nearby communities in case the fire spreads.

    Tuesday, September 8

    The Creek Fire grew to 152,833 acres with 0% containment on Tuesday.

    Helicopters landed at the Army National Guard base in Fresno with dozens of people who were stranded in China Peak and Lake Edison on Tuesday morning.

    On Tuesday evening, the county said around 30,000 people had been evacuated. In a press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the airlift operations and the rescues made over the weekend in Mammoth Pool.

    Monday, September 7

    The Creek Fire grew to 135,523 acres on Monday with 0% containment. During a press conference, fire officials said 200 people were stuck in the Sierra National Forest across four different temporary refuge areas.

    Officials urged people to be prepared and proactive when it comes to evacuation orders. There are two separate incident command teams working the Creek Fire: one is a federal team that is handling the north side of the blaze and another is working the south side of the fire into Fresno County.

    Sunday, September 6

    The fast-moving Creek Fire grew to 73,278 acres on Sunday with 0% containment.

    The wildfire trapped more than 200 people near the Mammoth Pool Reservoir in Madera County. National Guard helicopters were called in to airlift them to safety.

    On Sunday evening, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Fresno, Madera and Mariposa counties due to the fire. The declaration will help the state deploy additional resources to tackle it.

    Click here for the latest stories, videos from the Creek Fire.