MADERA COUNTY – Sept. 22. 2020 – The Creek Fire has now burned more than 283,000 acres with 30% containment and full containment not expected until Oct. 31, 2020. The fire has destroyed 855 structures and damaged another 71. There are now more than 3,100 personnel working the Creek Fire.
Weather conditions will remain the same as the past 2 days and will continue with warm and dry air and southwest winds. Daytime heating and southwest winds will continue to push the smoke upslope towards the Sierra Mountains. Nighttime cooling in the higher elevations will continue to push the smoke back down into the valleys with light down-sloping winds from the northeast.
This reversing pattern of winds enables opportunities for effective back-burning operations during the afternoon but increases the possibility of spot fires at night, especially in the area of Central Camp. Night shift fire crews have been very successful in holding the progress made during the daytime back burns.
As the weather creates effective conditions for back-burns, it also allows for growth of the natural fire lines. Yesterday some flare-ups along the fire perimeter combined with backburns created some very visible smoke columns during the afternoon. All of these areas were effectively controlled by late evening utilizing air resources.
Today the Military Strike Teams will be put into place along the fire perimeter to actively engage in firefighting operations. This will allow the opportunity to work aggressively and extend containment lines into the problematic areas along the western side of the Creek Fire. Increasing the amount of personnel around the fire area also creates more vehicular traffic. All fire personnel and residents should take this into consideration and use caution while driving on these increasingly traveled roads.
The northeastern fire perimeter is still about 12 miles west of Mammoth Lakes. Fire spread has been slowed as expected due to some natural barriers and the previous burn scar. Conditions continue to be monitored very closely by emergency officials.
Additional information is available via the Sierra National Forest Facebook page, or: https://creekfirepreparednessmonomammoth.hub.arcgis.com.
FRESNO COUNTY – Areas of the South Zone were active along the South Fork of the San Joaquin River as it progresses south, while on the eastern side of the fire burning is occurring towards the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness.
Yesterday’s firing operation will continue to burn out in the Sycamore Creek drainage, as previously unburnt fuels become fully consumed, which provides assistance in containment. Additional fire progression will be south of Mount Tom but slow as it reaches rocky higher elevation areas with less fuels.
Weather will influence fire activity as poor overnight moisture recovery leads to dry fuels. Light winds overnight allowed smoke to settle into the lower drainages and canyon, but overall sunny skies will prevail today allowing early preheating and drying of fuels. While smoke will rise and dissipate today, it will not completely clear out of the area.
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.”