Members of North Fork Rancheria Tribe concerned about Mission Fire burning near tribal land

NORTH FORK, Calif. (KFSN) -- A room full of worried residents affected by the Mission Fire attended a community meeting in North Fork Wednesday night, waiting to hear when they could go back home, or if they will even have one to go back to.

Firefighters still can't be sure when it will be safe for people to return, but say they are seeing quite a bit of success.

A big concern came from the North Fork Rancheria Tribe who said the fire has been burning near tribe sensitive areas. Their tribal archaeologist Gaylen Lee has been going out with fire crews to tell them what areas dozers need to be kept away from, to avoid disturbing the dirt on sacred land. So far they have seen some damage to areas from the fire but say it is minimal.

"They're lands people used to live on a long time ago, hundreds of years ago. They're very strong places where they used to live in encampment," said Lee.

The tribe said they are thankful for fire crews working with them and doing their best to protect the land.

Firefighters said crews have come from as far as San Diego to assist Madera County. They told residents Wednesday the heat and tree mortality has made this fire even tougher to tackle. Firefighters reminded them the best way they can help is to evacuate when they are told to, and make defensible spaces around their homes-- removing fuels and dead brush or trees from their yards.

Firefighters have not been able to give residents any information on the conditions of their home, but damage assessment should be finished by Wednesday night and they should have those numbers by the morning.
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