FRESNO AND MADERA COUNTIES, California (KSEE) — Firefighters battling the Creek Fire are starting to gain the upper hand. As of Monday evening, the fire had burned more than 212,000 acres and was 16% contained.
Cal Fire officials say damage assessment is 43% complete and so far more than 470 structures have been destroyed.
“It’s exciting when someone in your community has a home. it’s a weird thing to say but it gives you hope,” said Sierra High School Principal Sean Osterberg.
Osterberg still found reasons to smile, standing outside his school which is now a Creek Fire command center. Like so many of the families of the 600 or so students there, his family evacuated.
“We knew once it got over Cressman’s and the way Cressman’s burned we most likely lost our home,” said Osterberg.
The Creek Fire then tore through the Pine Ridge area, destroying many homes in its path, including the Osterberg’s’ farm.
“My house burned down, my garage burned down, all my outbuildings burned down but not my chicken coop! It still had some chickens alive in it,” said Osterberg.
“Unfortunately, those numbers will continue to go up. Those areas were so heavily damaged there were a lot of trees that were coming down and it was not safe for the assessment crews to get in there,” said Cal Fire Public Information Officer Daniel Ramey on the damage.
Osterberg says he will remain positive and be there for his community as they recover, together.
“Losing your home is very traumatic, it’s going to be a new journey, a tough one but I still have my family I still have my friends and my community and we are all going through it,” said Osterberg.
The Red Cross is assisting those impacted by the California Wildfires. You can help. Click this link to donate online: https://www.redcross.org/donate/cm/ksee24-pub.html/