Creek Fire has burned over 346,000 acres northeast of Fresno, CA

Updated October 18, 2020   |   7:18 a.m. PDT

The map above shows the perimeter of the Creek Fire collected by a mapping aircraft (N170WL) at 10:30 p.m. PDT Oct. 17, 2020. The red shaded areas represent intense heat. During the last 24 hours there was growth on the east side northwest of Mono Hot Springs. The preliminary updated size is 348,085 acres.

October 17, 2020   |   11:40 a.m. PDT

We are trying something new on Wildfire Today — creating a Google Map containing the perimeter of the Creek Fire. One of the main differences from our usual maps is that you can zoom in to see more detail. But keep in mind the perimeter is the approximate location, and can rapidly change as the fire spreads.  The data came, as usual, from an overnight USFS fixed wing mapping flight. Let us know your thoughts about this type of map.

The 346,477-acre Creek Fire is the largest fire in the recorded history of California, when comparing fires that are not part of a complex or multiple fires that merged. It is about 22 air miles northeast of Fresno.

Most of the spread of the fire over the last two days has been on the northeast side, which compared to the overall size of the blaze seems like a relatively small area, but it is generating large quantities of smoke affecting much of Central California.

Forecast for wildfire smoke
Forecast for wildfire smoke at 2 a.m. MDT October 18, 2020.

Firefighters make firelines by removing vegetation, so that the fire will burn up to the line and stop, since there is nothing left to burn. Roads and natural barriers can also be used. On October 12 there were 600 miles of fireline on the Creek Fire:

  • Dozer Lines: 363
  • Handline (constructed by hand crews): 87
  • Roads as Line: 150

Resources assigned to the fire include 19 hand crews, 43 fire engines and 13 helicopters, for a total of 983 personnel.

The incident management team reports that 105 residences and 508 other structures have been destroyed.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Ken.

Typos, let us know HERE. And, please keep in mind our commenting ground rules before you post a comment.

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+

10 thoughts on “Creek Fire has burned over 346,000 acres northeast of Fresno, CA”

  1. So Sorry for all those who lost their homes. May Jehovah God give you his Holy Spirit to cope and help y’all.

  2. I generally like the Google map(s) as it is versatile in allowing the readers to zoom in for detail, zoom out for context, and focus on their interest/need. I think this is a great addition!

    One question I would have is as new data is obtained, is this map updated or is a new map created? For those who rely on Wildfire Today to provide historical information, it is challenging to see “What happened on that day?” when information is updated and the old information is no longer available. Not that this is a huge problem, but I do have to take screen shots / snips knowing that many news sites simply update the maps and all historical information is lost. Wildfire Today has been a great source for me for historical information on fires that is hard to find elsewhere. Like everything in emergency management, you can’t please everybody!

    I often use the information to write papers on teaching various aspects of the Incident Command System. This year I have focused on “Incident Complexes – From simple to complex”, which should be up on the ICS Canada site early next year.

    Keep up the good work. You have done this for years and is clearly a labour of love. Thank you!

    1. One of the best ways to keep abreast of the growth and changes in the Creek Fire (at least, in the case of THAT one) is the U. S. Forest Service – Sierra National Forest’s Facebook page – here, if the link is allowed: And – provided you’re on FB, of course.

      Daily updates are released at 9 AM, with new maps, info sheets – full details. And if you save the maps, it’s easy to compare progression and other information from day to day.

    2. Good points, Tom, and thanks for the kind words.

      The maps on Wildfire Today are never revised. As the situation changes, we make completely new versions. We have no plans to change or revise the maps made with Google Maps — I don’t know if that’s even possible. I also don’t know what the shelf life of the Google Maps is. Will they be available for months or years? Google is known for making major changes to their products, including abandoning products.

    3. Bill: I like being able to zoom into a map that covers such a large area. I have a special interest in this fire. Aside from serving 7 years as PIO, I was Rec & Lands Staff on the Kings River District and DR over another 8 years. Further, I spent 20 years on the governing board of the Calvin Crest Conference Grounds in the northern half of the SNF.
      I tried looking to see how close to Mono Hot Springs the fire has spread, as well as the Huntington Lake Area where nearly 400 recreation residences are located and a few resorts and some more near the south side of the dam and organization camps at both the east and western ends of the lake. Unfortunately, given the large scale of the original photo, I could not tell how close to any of these locations.

  3. New map is great! can zoom in close for reader who is familiar with the area to see more specifics, and zoom out when one is not familiar and wants to find a known location for perspective. Thank you.

  4. Like the ability to zoom. Having Google maps as the base map gives a much better idea about the areas of urban interface.

    Can you add being to use satellite view and toggle between views?

  5. Hi Bill, really am liking the new mapping feature you are using, helps me get an even better view of the situation in and around the fire area, once again you’ve done a great job, my friend!

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