Creek Fire: Wildfire burning at historic pace through Sierra Nevada

Retired CAL FIRE chief on fire conditions: "It's been a ticking time bomb."
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Creek Fire has roared through everything in its path, including dead and dying trees weakened by drought and the bark beetle.

Retired CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott said, "This is the fire I think, I know we were all concerned about. It's been a ticking time bomb."

The spread of the Creek Fire has been staggering. It burned 45,000 acres on day one, 36,000 the next day, 48,000 more acres on day three, then 21,000 more acres.

Pimlott called the Creek Fire the one everyone feared because conditions were ripe for a big fire. An estimated 150 million dead trees could be found in the mountains.

Pimlott said of the speed of the fire's spread, "I would say this one is ranking at the top."

It took the Creek Fire just five days to overtake the 2015 Rough Fire in terms of burned acreage.

The Rough Fire tore through the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests for over three months and burned 151,623 acres.

Pimlott explained, "The Rough Fire was a large fire in the central Sierra but it didn't have many runs where it was fast-paced."

The Creek Fire has quickly become the second-largest wildfire to burn in the Sierra Nevada, with over 163,000 acres.

Only the Rim Fire was bigger. It burned 257,314 acres and started in August of 2013 in the Stanislaus National Forest and threatened Yosemite National Park.

It burned in Mariposa and Tuolumne counties but hot spots smoldered over a year later before the fire was finally put out In October of 2014.

Pimlott said, "The Rim Fire in 2013 for me really was the benchmark that kicked off sort of this new age, new norm of extreme fire."

Pimlott said every year since the Rim Fire we have seen even bigger wildfires around the state - and with zero containment at this point, the Creek Fire could end up topping them all.
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