Crews slow Creek Fire’s growth, gain additional air support

Local News

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) — Fire crews battling to slow the Creek Fire’s explosive growth celebrated a small victory Friday. For the first time since breaking out, the fire added less than 10,000 acres.

It’s now 182,225 acres. Containment remains at 6%.

Crews said the weather the last few days has been ideal and they’re expecting it will stay that way throughout the night.

“It’s a small win. It’s been a losing battle the first couple day in this fire, this is a definite win we’re going to take,” Edwin Zuniga, Public Information Officier said.

The fight also got a new addition to the arsenal, three Black Hawk helicopters from the National Guard were reassigned from the Lake Fire to start water drops.

“Just putting more airplanes into the sky when we can, it really assists the fire fighters,” Daniel Ramey said.

The air support also includes four more Black Hawks for rescue, and two Chinooks ready for bucket drops. They’re all in Fresno ready if needed.

But low visibility kept everything grounded another day.

“We still have crews on the ground working in and around the structures. Fire operations are not stopping. We just don’t have that air support like we had in a couple days ago,” Ramey said.

No new structures have been lost and Shaver Lake is still an area of concern. Containment lines are being strengthened with hand and dozer teams.

Saving homes remains the priority on the south end where more houses are, along with the lesser populated north end.

“So you may not see as many fire resources there, but each home is being protected just as well as those on the south,” Capt. Chris Vestal said.

Crews have been working around the clock and the number of personnel is now up to over 1,800.

“We completed the hand line and dozer line around the communities at Huntington Lake. So those communities are completely wrapped with dozer line,” Zuniga said.

But fire officials said the fight is far from over, and things can take a turn at any moment.

“We do want to warm people just because the fire is slow right now and not growing rapidly like it had in the prior days, don’t expect that that won’t be the case in coming days as the weather conditions are more conducive to fire activity,” Vestal said.

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