California’s Creek Fire in Fresno County has burned 135,523 acres, with zero percent contained and 5,296 homes threatened, according to the latest report Monday by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the Sierra National Forest.
More than 60 people were reported to be trapped in the Sierra National Forest, including at least 50 in the Lake Edison area and 14 on China Peak, authorities confirmed.
Rescue efforts Monday by military helicopters were “unsuccessful,” with one fatality confirmed but there may be multiple casualties, the Fresno Fire Department warned.
“Updated info on MCI ][multi-casualty incident] event at FYI: rescue efforts were unsuccessful, military pilots tried valiantly to land but heavy smoke conditions prevented a safe approach, another effort will be made shortly to evacuate the trapped people in Lake Edison and China Peak using night vision,” the department noted Monday on its official Twitter account.
One person was reported to have died after collapsing in the Mono Hot Springs area. The death was not caused by the fire but was due to a medical issue, the Fresno Fire Department confirmed, Fresno’s ABC30 reported.
Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo told reporters: “We have reports of an excess of 50 people or more in three different locations that need to be rescued. We don’t know the variety of injuries, if any at all. We did get a report of one fatality.
“The locations [where people are trapped] vary, they’re at different elevations. The difficulty of helicopters trying to get through the smoke has been a challenge. They weren’t able to land in several attempts throughout the day,” he confirmed.
Authorities warned: “The fire continues to grow in all directions with large increases to the south and east. The progression threatens new communities in the foothills, especially with the winds expected overnight into tomorrow [Tuesday]. Extreme fire behaviour is still being observed with critical fuels and weather,” in the latest Cal Fire report Monday.
An evacuation order has been issued for the Central Camp community of Madera County, while evacuation warnings are in place for the communities of Bass Lake, Wawona and Fish Camp in Madera County, Cal Fire confirmed Monday.
An evacuation warning is also in place for “Tollhouse Road from SR-168 to Lodge Road including Tollhouse Road North to SR -168,” in Fresno County, the report noted.
An evacuation warning has been issued for “Eastside of Highway 41 between Road 222 and Road 200 and all spur roads to the east,” the Madera County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
“There is a potential threat to life and property. Monitor the situation and be prepared to take action immediately. Don’t wait for an evacuation order to leave if you feel threatened. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now,” the sheriff’s office warned.
Firefighters continue to battle several wildfires across the state, which have now burned more than two million acres of California, according to the latest report Monday by Cal Fire.