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Wednesday’s Creek Fire Update: 220,025 Acres, 18% Containment, 650 Structures Destroyed



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Additional firefighters have joined the effort to bring the 220,025-acre Creek Fire under control and snuff the threat to communities in Fresno and Madera counties.

On Tuesday night, incident leaders reported that 2,878 personnel are now assigned to the Creek Fire. That’s an increase of 253.

Containment also improved from 16% to 18%, Cal Fire said.

The latest damage assessment indicated that 650 structures have been lost and 52 damaged. Click on this link to view a damage assessment map for the two counties.

Fire Line Holds at Cascadel Woods

In Madera County, incident leaders reported that the fireline between the San Joaquin River drainage and Cascadel Woods is holding up. In addition, a tactical firing operation is planned around Central Camp. Structures in that area have been prepped and wrapped in recent days.

In Fresno County, a tactical firing operation is underway in Cherry Valley. The goal: remove fuels and prevent the spread of the fire in Blue Canyon should winds shifts this week.

Cal Fire reports that the blaze is burning in the northeast near the South San Joaquin River. Firefighters are keeping a close eye on the eastern portion of the fire. It has burned in a mosaic pattern and the islands of fuel within the area could flare up with weather changes.

Residents Allow to Return, Evacuation Orders Change

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office downgraded evacuation orders to warnings in more areas Tuesday afternoon, thus allowing more residents to return home.

To check out the latest zones, click on this link.

For additional information, click on this link.

Evacuation map for Fresno and Madera counties as of Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 15, 2020. (U.S. Forest Service)

Huntington Lake ‘Fire Tornado’ Hit 1,400 Degrees: Costa

In a Zoom interview with  GV Wire℠ on Monday, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) said that fire officials estimated the temperatures of a “fire tornado” at Huntington Lake in the Creek Fire’s early stages at 1,400 degrees.

The fire tornado “literally toppled trees 100- and 150-feet tall,” Costa said. “Their roots now are burning, creating another source of fire.”

The fire tornado devastated the Huckleberry Tract of cabins near the lake’s shore.

Costa is a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act. The bill addresses the long-term management of federal forests on four fronts:

— Wildfire mitigation projects

— Supporting healthier forests more resilient to climate change

— Energy and retrofit assistance to better protect businesses and residences in wildfire zones

— Incentivize the collection of wood biomass and make biomass processing more economically viable

With bipartisan support from U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Steve Daines (R-Montana) and the deadly wildfires now burning up and down the West Coast, the bill’s prospects for passage are good, Costa said.

The Wilderness Society said that it “strongly opposes” parts of the bill.


Huckleberry Tract at Huntington Lake. Legend: green is unharmed by fire; magenta is fire-damaged. (Huntington Lake Volunteer Fire Dept.)

Watch: Rep. Jim Costa Explains Wildfire Legislation


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