More Creek Fire evacuees returning home as crews increase containment

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FRESNO COUNTY, California (KGPE) — More people returned home Tuesday as crews gained ground on the Creek Fire.

Several evacuation orders have now been lifted or reduced. The fire is burning 220,025 acres at 18% containment.

Maria Sanchez was one of those returning to her Auberry home after more than a week.

“It’s just been a very emotional eight days, ups and downs kind of like, do I complain that I can’t go home when there’s people out there that don’t have homes?,” she said.

Sanchez said she was ready as soon as she got the news.

“I was very excited. I was at work and I just could not wait to come home,” she said.

Firefighters have had a stretch of favorable weather.

“That gives firefighters the opportunity to really attack the fire and get that footing that they need. Once they grab that anchor point which is a few days ago, then from there they just start working up the line,” Alex Olow said.

Crews were able to keep the spread of the fire minimal, while adding to the containment Tuesday. They’ll be focusing on strengthening and holding containment lines as well as working to slow the growth in the north and northeastern parts.

“It wasn’t the top priority the last few days because we had a lot of structures that needed to get assessed and get protection built around those. So now that it’s in check in a lot of areas by Shaver Lake and stuff, we want to start moving up to the north and get the big picture,” Daniel Ramey said.

Flames have now taken out more than 600 structures as nearly 3,000 people continue working to get this fire under control.

“We just ask people to be patient, especially if you are evacuated. Be patient. You will get home soon. We don’t want to keep you out of the house any longer than you want to be out of the house,” Olow said.

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