Fire crews continue to work to protect homes and businesses in Cascadel Woods, North Fork

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MADERA COUNTY(KGPE) – Fire crews continued to work to protect homes and structures in Cascadel Woods and North Fork on Thursday.

“Any place that you would have a population is gonna take a priority,” said Alex Olow, the public information officer for the Creek Fire, Sierra National Forest.

He said determining the areas of the fire where they have to adjust manpower is based on values at risk.

“Sometimes those decisions are very hard decisions to make but the one decision that’s always made first is the protection of the people and the property and the resource,” he said.

He said crews are working hard to gain containment on the Creek Fire.

“Getting an anchor point is probably the most important thing,” he said. “By getting those lines in, getting a line around Cascadel Woods ties into the hopeful anchor point that they’re trying to establish off the San Joaquin River.

On Thursday, the smoke was worse in areas like North Fork and Coarsegold than it was on Wednesday.

“Because of the fire burning hot up at the top, last night the winds are driven out of the north so unfortunately, with the wind coming down out of the north and the east and then the inversion, so the air above is heavier than the air below so it pushes it down and then the wind pushes it down the drainages,” Olow said.

Tom Wheeler, a Madera County Supervisor whose district includes North Fork and Bass Lake, said since living in North Fork in 1958, this is the first time he’s ever had to evacuate his home.

“Never in my life,” he said when asked if he had ever seen something like this. “Today I’m a little bit calmer, the first two nights I hardly slept.”

He said he’s gotten messages from people asking about their homes, but he said it’s hard to tell when he and residents will know more.

“Until we get (the fire) controlled, where we know it’s not going to put any people in jeopardy, you cannot come back,” Wheeler said.

The Red Cross is assisting those impacted by the California Wildfires.  You can help. Click this link to donate online.

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