RELATED: Creek Fire: Fresno County residents who lost home re-enter area
Over the last three days, dozens have returned to survey the destruction. Hundreds more await being able to see their properties, but the long-standing question is: when will that be?
EVACUATION ZONE MAP: Click here to see the current evacuation zone for the Creek Fire
The Fresno County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) provided answers to frequently asked questions to help Creek Fire evacuees.
"I know my home was destroyed, when will I be able to visit the property?"
FCSO Answer: "This is part of what we call our Re-Entry Phase, which is currently taking place. A re-entry point is defined as an area within an evacuation zone where the fire has destroyed a person's land and/or structure(s). Temporary entrance times are assigned by county officials to property owners who are required to abide by stipulations and requirements established by both the Fresno County Sheriff's Office and County of Fresno. We have been announcing new re-entry zones on a regular basis to give residents an opportunity to plan their visit. Anyone whose home was not destroyed or is not a resident of the specified zones will not be admitted, so please do not show up to the check-in station with a different expectation.
A check-in station is established at Foothill Elementary School, 29147 Auberry Road, Prather, CA 93651 and it has hours of 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. Please bring official identification and a document proving residency. If your driver license does not contain your current address, bring a utility bill or something similar as we need proof of your address to allow you in for re-entry. Due to health and safety hazards created by the fire, you are urged to bring personal protective equipment (goggles, face masks, gloves, etc.) to wear. You are encouraged to wear pants, a long sleeve shirt and sturdy, close-toed shoes. You should also bring a second set of clothes or Tyvek coveralls. You will be able to take away items from your property, so please bring boxes and bags. Do not plan on loading up trailers full of items. After leaving your property, you must check-out at a location designated by the Sheriff's Office."
"My home was not damaged, when will my zone open up to allow me to move back into my house?"
FCSO Answer: "This is known as the Repopulation Phase, which is an area deemed safe by officials where structures are intact, allowing residents and business owners to move back in for long term habitation. Each day, fire, law enforcement and utility officials evaluate all zones.
Through this coordinated effort, they determine if a zone will remain red (evacuation order status, no entry allowed), change to yellow (evacuation warning status, allows in and out privileges to specific residents) or turns to green (no restrictions, open to residents and visitors). There is no forecasting on zone openings we can disclose to the public due to changing conditions and the need to evaluate daily. If you call or email, we will not have any further information to disclose other than what has already been publicly released."
RELATED: Creek Fire: Resources for evacuees affected by blaze
"My home is in a red zone, can I access it briefly to check on the property or retrieve items?"
FCSO Answer: "No. Due to safety concerns and limited resources to provide escort services, we are unable to accommodate these special requests. Even though fire may not be an immediate threat to your property, there continues to be large equipment occupying the area to clear trees, address hazmat situations and restore utilities (electricity, sewer, water, telephone, etc.) It is critical that we allow crews to work uninterrupted. Doing so will reduce delays and allow for areas to open up as soon as possible to residents."
"I left my vehicle, RV, trailer, boat behind in a red zone. How can I retrieve it?"
FCSO Answer: "We have compiled an extensive database of owner information. If you have contacted us about this issue, it has been logged or is in the process of being logged. Dates and times to allow retrieval of your vehicles will be communicated directly to you with advance notice as they become available. It will entail us carpooling you into the area with a law enforcement escort. Fire conditions recently worsened in the area of Kaiser Pass, causing us to have to cancel a scheduled trip to China Peak, Mono Hot Springs, Edison Lake and Florence Lake.
We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to reschedule and complete this task for you as soon as possible. Members of the public who have already contacted our office and reported their information do not need to contact us again. Until you have recovered your vehicle, it is important that if you see a call come through on your phone from a blocked number, please answer it as this may be us trying to reach you regarding this matter."
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