‘It looks like Mars:’ Family cabin of 30 years lost due to Creek Fire

CBS47 Investigates

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) — Many cabins in Shaver Lake represent a family’s happy place. The feeling quickly changed after the Creek Fire torched the property of some residents.

Jesalyn Harper says her family lost their cabin of more than 30 years to the flames, describing what is left as ‘looking like Mars’.

“Thinking of a fire going through there, like how you would see on TV, and burning, it makes you feel so vulnerable, exposed, and violated,” Harper said.

Harper says she lost her cabin that had been in her family for decades.

“I don’t want people seeing that (the cabin) and thinking of that place as rubble. It wasn’t just rubble. It was a home,” Harper said.

Memories are now scattered throughout the photos they cherish. Each photo has a story, for example, photos of Harper and her son.

“It was my son’s birthday and we went to the cabin,” Harper said. “He was so excited, he loved the cabin. It was just me and him and it was so special to have that moment as just mother and son and the cabin before all this happened.”

Harper says she is now left to grieve the loss.

“You go through the stages of mourning and one of the stages is anger. I’m at the anger phase and there are a lot of people who are mad,” Harper said. She has seen this tragedy on repeat over the last several summers.

“Every year we have these fires come through, and we’re being put in the line of fire. No pun intended. Fires happen, but it could have been minimalized,” Harper said.

She says what she’ll miss the most are the serene moments under the sunset.

“I would get off work, and run up there, just in time to see the sunset.”

Now the sun has set at the cabin for the last time.

“It makes those pictures even more special, Harper said. “I’m not going to have another sunset on that deck again.”

Harper says her family does have homeowners and fire insurance. However, that won’t bring back the keepsakes left behind at the cabin.

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