NORTH FORK – Nov 1, 2020 – The Creek Fire has now charred more than 380,000 acres with 70% containment. Full containment is not expected until the middle of November.
The devastating fire has destroyed 853 structures and damaged another 64. The ignition source of the Creek Fire is still under investigation.
There remains a crew of nearly 1000 men and women fighting the fire, including 15 engines, 19 hand crews, 9 dozers, 6 helicopters, and 35 water tenders. 26 firefighters have suffered minor injuries.
The firefighters have made significant progress this week with the favorable weather conditions.
The northeast portion of the fire around Vermillion Cliffs north of Lake Thomas A. Edison and the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River continues to be the most active. The majority of activity is confined by large expanses of exposed rock. Fire managers are monitoring these areas closely.
“The fire is not spreading actively but right now there’s still lots of potential for this fire to stand up and move around with winds coming,” said fire behavior analyst Byron Kimball, alluding to winds forecast to accompany a cold front expected to move into the area late next week.
Heat and active fire was detected by infrared flights on the east end of Lake Thomas A. Edison and hotshot crews are working to secure and mop up that area.
A crew hiked into a hot spot discovered Friday about 1 mile outside the control line on the west side of the fire in the vicinity of Little Shuteye Peak northeast of Bass Lake. The spot was about 100-feet-by-100 feet and is believed to be the result of a wind event early last week that has been smoldering and finally emerged.
Firefighters dug a handline around the spot and will mop it up today.
The spot fire outside the control line is a watch-out situation, said Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team Incident Commander Ed Sanford. “It’s easy to fight fire pointing at a map but until you get boots on the ground and see what the risks and challenges are and what work needs to be done you don’t know what you’re looking at.”
Heavy equipment operators are working to repair and rehabilitate almost 600 miles of fire lines constructed during suppression efforts. Most of the work currently is being done on the west and south sides of the fire.
The fleet of heavy iron chugging away on repair work includes 16 excavators, 10 masticators, 9 dozers, 8 skidgines (Soft Track Skidgines are soft tracks that float over the terrain with very little ground compaction, resulting in far less environmental destruction than a dozer), 5 graders, 3 chippers, 2 feller bunchers and 1 backhoe.
Multiple tree falling crews and heavy equipment are being used to remove countless hazard trees along roads and in campgrounds.
Unseasonably warm, dry conditions will persist over the fire the next four to five days. A cold front is forecast to move into the area late next week that will be preceded by gusty southwest winds. While temperatures are expected to drop into the 40s and 50s, the winds could be problematic given the extremely dry conditions.
For information on the Forest closure order, go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/sierra/
For more information on the Creek Fire click on the following link: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7147/ or visit Twitter: @Sierra_NF / Facebook: @sierranationalforest
Fire Information Line: 559-549-3781 (8 am to 9 pm daily) or email email@example.com
The Alaska Incident Management Team is implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in both the fire area and surrounding communities