Creek Fire reaches Mammoth Pool Reservoir; military helicopters rescue over 150 people

More than a dozen had critical injuries

Updated September 7, 2020  |  12:41 p.m. PDT

Map of the Creek Fire 12:05 a.m. PDT Sept. 7, 2020
Map of the Creek Fire at 12:05 a.m. PDT Sept. 7, 2020. Perimeter provided by the incident management team.

The Creek Fire Sunday grew in all directions but not as much to the north as might be expected after it ran for over 10 miles in that direction during its first 22 hours. The blaze spread south near the west shore of Shaver Lake but according to mapping at 12:05 a.m. Monday stayed primarily west of Highway 168.

The Incident management team reported at 10:47 a.m. Monday the fire had  burned 78,790 acres.


August 6, 2020  |  4:54 p.m. PDT

Map of the Creek Fire
Map of the Creek Fire at 8:38 a.m. PDT August 6, 2020. The perimeter was supplied by the incident management team.

The perimeter of the Creek Fire on the map above was supplied by the incident management team and is much more accurate than data from satellites. The Forest Service reports it has burned 45,500 acres.

Early Saturday afternoon the fire crossed the San Joaquin River and made a run north to the Mammoth Pool area and beyond. Members of the public sheltered in place near Wagner’s Store and Campground and Mammoth Pool Reservoir. Using helicopters, the California Army National Guard safely evacuated 207 people that were trapped by the fire.

The fire burned actively overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning. Firefighters were challenged Sunday by steep rugged terrain, heavy fuel loading, and high temperatures. Additional resources have been ordered including a Type 1 Incident Management Team. Evacuations and closures remain in effect.


map of Creek Fire California
The map shows the approximate location of the Creek Fire at 2:10 a.m. PDT September 6, 2020. The red and yellow dots represent heat detected by a satellite. Some of them could be from heat in the smoke column rather than fire on the ground. Do not use the information to make decisions about evacuation.

The Creek Fire that started at about 6 p.m. September 5 near Big Creek in the Sierra Mountains northeast of Fresno, California grew explosively to 36,000 acres in about 22 hours.

The fire raced 10 miles north across the Sierra National Forest reaching Mammoth Pool Reservoir making roads impassible and trapping hundreds of people at the Boat Launch who had been enjoying the Labor Day weekend.

Sheltering from the Creek Fire at the Mammoth Pool Reservoir
Sheltering from the Creek Fire at the Mammoth Pool Reservoir Boat Launch, Sept. 5, 2020. Photo by Cameron Colombero, via Mike Ikahihifo.

By 1 a.m. , ABC7 reported, military Blackhawk helicopters had evacuated at least 163 people and flown them to the National Guard Base at the Fresno Airport. From there ambulances took 20, some with critical burn injuries, to hospitals. Others were transported to the Fresno Convention Center. The rescue operation continued into the night.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Creek Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)

CAL FIRE said the Blackhawks were rescuing 20 at a time who were then checked out and triaged by personnel staffing the 10 Fresno County Fire Protection District units and one Clovis FD unit at the airport.

The Creek Fire started in the Huntington Lake, Shaver Lake area near Big Creek and Camp Sierra.

Evacuations are in effect. More information can be found at the Facebook pages for the Sheriff’s offices of Fresno and Madera Counties.

Weather stations on Saturday recorded wind speeds of zero to 7 mph, surprisingly low for a fire that grew explosively. But the temperature and humidity at North Fork tell a different story, where the temperature reached 108 degrees and the humidity dropped to 9 percent in the afternoon. Those conditions coupled with dry fuels and no recent history of fire in the area help explain why the blaze burned 36,000 acres during its first 22 hours.

Satellite photo showing smoke from fires in California
Satellite photo showing smoke from fires in California at 6:01 p.m. PDT Sept 5, 2020. NASA/Wildfire Today.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

7 thoughts on “Creek Fire reaches Mammoth Pool Reservoir; military helicopters rescue over 150 people”

  1. I keep seeing posts about CalFire telling the National Guard not to go in and rescue people and other such statements like the “abondonded” those people. doesn’t seem quite right to me. I was wondering if you had more details? My guess is CalFire called the national guard to help… but wondering why I’m seeing all these posts saying otherwise.

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