Former CAL FIRE director urging public to stay prepared for wildfires

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Sunday marked exactly one month since the Creek Fire sparked and a turning point for firefighters as containment jumped to more than 60 percent.

The flames, fueled by dry, hot conditions, are expected to be contained by the end of October.

"This is the kind of fire we were worried about but hoped wouldn't happen," says former CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott.

Fire crews expect to take advantage of cooler conditions and the chance of rain by the weekend.

While the weather will likely help them strengthen containment, it has served as one of their biggest challenges of the Creek Fire.

"The critically dry conditions, wind, extreme wind events, tree mortality, particularly with the Creek Fire burning in the area that it experienced throughout the Central Sierra," Pimlott said.

Dubbed the largest single wildfire in California's history, the Creek Fire is one of 23 major wildfires burning across the state.

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

An explosive wildfire season that Pimlott says is like no other.

"We're crossing into 4 million acres of land burned so far this fire season and we have a long way to go," he said. "I think five of the top 20 fires have happened this year."

RELATED: Record-breaking California wildfires surpass 4 million acres burned

With more than 30 years of experience on the front lines of the states deadliest and most destructive fires, Pimlott says if you live in a wildland urban interface, it's not a matter of if, but when this could happen to you.

"It's not to put fear in people, it's to really make everyone understand the reality of the conditions, so it's going to that ready, set, go mentality," he said.

Early on in the year, clear your defensible space and make sure your house has fire resistant construction.

"Having your go bag, you take all the things you're going to take with you if you're going to evacuate quickly," Pimlott said. "Prepare for your pets. If you can take them with you, if possible."

In addition to having an evacuation route, simple steps like keeping your gas tank full can go a long way.

"When you're asked to leave or directed to leave for an evacuation, go," he said. "Don't wait."

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