FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – It’s been three years since the Creek Fire ignited in Eastern Fresno County. It would go on to destroy communities and hundreds of homes and businesses.

Now, the towns along the fire’s burn scar path are being rebuilt as officials reflect on that day.

More than 850 buildings were destroyed by the flames, but despite the fire’s massive amount of destruction, no one died, and officials to this day, call it a miracle.

Pictures taken by Chief Steve McQuillan of the Shaver Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

He took them while fighting the Creek Fire three years ago in early September and compiled them in a book for donors.

“I so clearly remember the okay guys it’s time to leave,” he said, reflecting on the day.

McQuillan and the entire volunteer department dropped everything to try and save what they could.

“My family had scheduled a vacation in South Lake Tahoe. My pager went off. I was surprised coming up the four lanes the smoke was as thick as it was,” said McQuillan.

The fire scorched nearly 380,000 acres of forest.

The majority of the burning happened in just the first few days.

“When I left that morning I closed the garage door, and I sat in my driveway because to the right was fire glow,” McQuillan said. “I left thinking my place would be gone that night.”

Luckily his home was spared but seeing the fire glow that close and that bright. To Chief McQuillan, it’s a miracle no one died in the fire.

“You look at the size of Creek and you compare it with all the other huge megafires California has suffered over the last decade. Almost every one of them involved one, five, ten, 20, 80 fatalities, but we didn’t have a single fatality,” he said.

Efforts to recover and rebuild are still going on now.

A benefit concert over the weekend brought money to local companies that lost a lot from the fire.

In Late August, the fire department got a new water tender they so desperately needed.

Looking forward, Chief McQuillan is optimistic about rebuilding but urges caution.

“What’s growing back right now, is a lot of brush which has us, has me very concerned. Brush burns very fast,” said McQuillan.

He emphasized the reaction from first responders, and evacuees listening to the alerts and official’s warnings, to get out of the evacuated areas in time.