MADERA COUNTY – Sept. 23, 2020 – The Creek Fire has now burned 286,519 acres earning the dubious distinction of being the largest single fire incident in state history. With 32% of the fire contained there are more than 3,100 fire personnel diligently working for full containment that is not expected until the end of October. The Creek Fire has now destroyed 855 structures and damaged another 71.
Weather conditions are expected to remain very consistent through the weekend. The alternating pattern of daytime up-sloping winds followed by nighttime down-sloping winds will be the dominant weather pattern.
Fire crews have used this weather consistency to their advantage and have implemented a very efficient routine as well as maximizing the use of air resources.
Yesterday air Operations had a very busy day on the western perimeter of the fire near Central Camp. Helicopters performing water drops, and fixed wing aircraft dropping fire retardant along constructed dozer lines allowed for aggressive back-burning in this area. Firefighters continue to patrol and protect the cabins and structures.
Air reconnaissance was also used to visually survey the northern fire perimeter. After the fire spread last weekend over Beasore Road, this was the first opportunity to inspect the area including Granite Creek and Clover Meadows Camps. Fire preparations performed last week proved to be effective, and though the fire passed through these areas, the buildings in these camps were saved.
Fire has also passed around Strawberry Mine, and the main buildings appear to be free of damage. At its closest distance, the fire was measured to be about 14 miles west of Mammoth Lakes. The visual inspection verified that the natural barriers and the previous burn scar do
appear to be limiting fire spread in the north-eastern flank.
Once again, with the increased use of air resources, please respect the Temporary Flight Restriction. The use of drones is not permitted over the fire area. A drone incursion will result in the grounding of all firefighting aircraft. Remember, “If you fly – We can’t.”
FRESNO COUNTY – Active burning in the South Zone of the Creek Fire occurred yesterday south of Mount Tom progressing towards Portal Forebay. Active burning and torching occurred in heavy fuels and timber in this area.
On the eastern portion of the fire progression was towards the east and on the south portion of the Zone it burned within control lines and consumed fuels interior to the existing perimeter.
Weather will follow the trend of season temperatures with low relative humidity and light winds, leading smoke to settle in the canyons and other low areas overnight into the morning with clearing by the midafternoon. Sunny skies will return Wednesday with little
change in temperature or humidity.
The east portion of the fire is progressing towards the Dinkey Lake Wilderness. The southern portion of the fire should burn completely within and to the control lines from the burning operation.
In high elevation areas with less timber fuel and rock outcroppings, progression will be slow.
Operational priorities for today on the South Zone will include tactical patrol in all areas. Tactical patrol includes mopping up areas of the fire still exhibiting open flame, smoke and smoldering. Also focusing on ensuring threatened structures are prepared for possible defense should the fire progression reach them. Additionally, line improvement and construction will remain a focus to improve containment of the fire with heavy equipment and hand crews removing additional fuels from areas around existing line.