By Robert Rodriguez
The Fresno Bee
FRESNO, Calif. — Containment of the Creek Fire grew to 78% Sunday with total acres burned growing by 93 acres to 379,895, the U.S. Forest Service reported.
Sunday had been the estimated full-containment date for the past two weeks. Saturday, that date was changed to Nov. 30.
The wildfire has been burning in the Sierra National Forest in eastern Fresno and Madera counties since Sept. 4. The cause is under investigation.
Bolstered by favorable weather, fire crews have seen very little fire spread in the last five days, the USFS said. Crews are also gaining an upper hand in repairing some of the damage to forest created by fighting the fire with heavy equipment, including bulldozers.
Currently, of 338 miles of “dozer line,” 258 miles have been completely repaired, or 76%. Roads are also being repaired. Of 148 miles that were used as a fire line, about 80% or 118 miles have been repaired.
“We are working on restoring some of the impact on the landscape,” said Sunshine Meitzner, U.S. Forest Service public information officer.
Although the Sierra National Forest remains closed through Nov. 24, Meitzner said the forest service is also reassessing the closure boundaries.
The Creek Fire is the fourth-largest fire in California history (five of the top six happened this year) and is the largest single-incident fire, trailing three “complex” fires where multiple incidents merged. The Creek Fire has destroyed 853 structures and damaged 64. Firefighting personnel included 356, with 29 firefighter injuries reported.
In the Sequoia National Forest, the SQF Complex Fire was 83% contained as of Saturday and had burned 174,178 acres.
In a news release, incident commander Mike Wakoski thanked everyone in the communities affected by the fire.
“Their support and patience have been appreciated by all those involved in helping manage this incident. Personnel on the Forest will continue to work on suppression repair as weather permits and will patrol and monitor those areas of the fire that still show some heat,” Wakoski said.
(c)2020 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)
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