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Monday’s Creek Fire Updates: Nearly 202,000 Acres Burned, 10% Containment, ‘Fire Tornado’ Torched Huntington Lake



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Heavy smoke from the Castle Fire in Tulare County drifted over the Creek Fire on Sunday, aiding firefighters in their efforts to get the upper hand on the now  201,908-acre blaze.

In addition, Cal Fire officials said that the damage assessment for the wildfire is 36% complete. The latest report indicated that 365 structures have been destroyed and 32 damaged.

Cal Fire is reporting that the blaze is 10% contained — up 4% since Thursday evening

Addressing the southern section of the fire in Fresno County, Cal Fire officials explained during Sunday night’s incident report that “the southern portion of the fire became shaded from the smoke and the expected increase in fire behavior did not develop.”

But winds at higher elevations cleared the smoke out at Huntington Lake and above.

“With these conditions, the eastern portion of the fire became active in the afternoon and a plume of smoke developed over the Kaiser Wilderness,” Cal Fire officials said. “Some low-intensity spot fires were discovered south of Huntington Lake along Highway 168. These fires are burning away from the fire’s edge but remain within an indirect control line.”

Cal Fire has successfully protected Shaver Lake during the Creek Fire. (GV Wire/Jamie Ouverson)

More Than 2,500 Personnel Assigned to Creek Fire

There are 2,503 personnel, including 29 hand crews, battling the Creek Fire. The available equipment: 266 engines, 70 dozers, 63 water tenders, and 18 helicopters.

Read: Monday Morning Update

‘Fire Tornado’ Eviscerates Parts of Huntington Lake

Chris Donnelly chief of the Huntington Lake Volunteer Fire Department, said in a report to cabin owners over the weekend:

“The area hit the hardest was Upper Line  (Creek), Huckleberry, and Camp Kennolyn. It appears that a ‘fire tornado’ occurred in the old meadow area in front of Camp Kennolyn which actually pulled out many trees by the roots!

“In Upper Line, there are unburned cabins that were damaged as live, unburned trees, hit cabins. Fire inspectors from the office of the State Fire Marshall stated that fire behavior in the Kennolyn area is the worst they had witnessed in their career.”

Donnelly also said that the “area will take many years to recover.”

Maps of Fire Damaged Cabins at Huntington Lake

Legend: green is unharmed by fire; magenta is fire-damaged.

Huckleberry Tract at Huntington Lake (Huntington Lake Volunteer Fire Dept.)

Upper Line Creek Tract at Huntington Lake (Huntington Lake Volunteer Fire Dept.)

Dowville Tract at Huntington Lake (Huntington Lake Volunteer Fire Dept.)

Lower Line Creek Tract at Huntington Lake (Huntington Lake Volunteer Fire Dept.)

Creek Fire Evacuation Zones

Residents of Fresno and Madera counties can check their residences to see if they are in an evacuation zone or an evacuation warning zone.

Click on this link and type in your address.

Read: Bullfrog Fire Update

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email