The Creek Fire Follow Up
We will continue to follow up various aspects of the Creek Fire. These include:
FIREFIGHTERS' SALUTE: We're very serious about establishing an annual event that would salute our firefighters. We feel that it should involve both Mariposa & Tuolumne Counties. It only makes sense that the event be held at the end of fire season so those we salute would be able to attend ... as well as their families. Whether it would be an official holiday in the 2 counties, whether it would be one day or a weekend, what events could be slated ... these are all items to be discussed & decided upon. What inducements could be offered to firefighters (half off local accommodations, opening up our homes, etc.)? Response to this salute so far has been marginal. I've had a couple dozen supportive e-mails to date & only a few with concrete offers of assistance. Such a task would need a lot of support. What do you think? Please e-mail any suggestions or offers of support: firstname.lastname@example.org
CREEK FIRE FOLLOWUPS:
ANIMAL LOSSES / INJURIES: We'll be following this up including the would be adoption of a puppy & 3 kittens ... all victims of the fire. Anyone interested in adopting these animals should contact Tuolumne County Animal Control at 209.984.1338. We will follow up.
PERSONAL LOSSES: We know of at least one family who suffered catastrophic losses in the fire ... including much of their cattle raising livelihood when 600 to 800 fence posts on their ranch land burned. We're in contact with these folks & various agencies which may be of help. We would like to share their story & their grief but also want to see what agency - type assistance may be available first. If it's necessary for the community to come to their aid, we'll let you know.
SPECIAL STORIES: One family was out of town during the fire with house & gate locked. When they got back, they realized just how much the firefighters did to save their home & surroundings. It's quite a story & this one we will be sharing with you shortly. Do you know of a special story? We would love to share it.
& MORE: Obviously the fire coverage took a lot of resources to cover adequately. I now need to devote some time & resources to generate more revenues to ensure that this megasite continues to be the #1 internet resource for Yosemite / Gold Country. I'm not asking for donations; this is a for profit operation. At the same time, please feel free to patronize our advertisers and, if you or someone you know, could use a great website ... or have it linked to a great website, I would love to hear from you. I would also ask that you bookmark us: www.yosemitegold.com; visit us often & don't forget to tell a friend. It's my sincere desire to offer special coverage of many, many events here in Yosemite / Gold Country.
Thanks again for your continued support & your many kind words. I've received over 200 very supportive e-mails to date on the Creek Fire coverage alone.
BELOW IS A FINAL POSTING OF CREEK FIRE COVERAGE INCLUDING UPDATES WHERE NECESSARY.
Wednesday, 8/29/01: The final "209" summary from the fire is in & posted. That includes Tuesday's transfer to fire command to local control as well as continued rehabilitation & mop up. On another note, we continue to ask for your input in organizing a 2 county "Firefighters' Salute." For more info, please scroll down to "THANK YOU" near the bottom of this page. As we get input & possible information about a salute, we'll post it here.
LATEST NEWS: Some stumps continue to smolder and could continue to do so until rains come. There has been no active flames or torching with no fire spread anticipated. Mopping up continues.
TRANSFER OF RESPONSIBILITY: Fire responsibility was transferred back to Mariposa & Tuolumne County CDF on Tuesday. Local CDF crews now have responsibility of the fire's cleanup & remaining demobilization.
STATS: Containment remains 100%. Acreage burned: 11,095. Estimated final cost of the fire fighting operation: $7.7 million.
LOSSES: 13 homes & 30 outbuildings / other have been destroyed. Homes include houses & mobile homes used as a primary residence. Outbuildings / other in this fire: 20 buildings, 6 trailers, 4 vehicles & 1 log splitter.
ANIMAL LOSSES / INJURIES: one cow was killed &, at last report, at least 2 more cows were still missing from the Gookin Ranch area. Tuolumne County Animal Control rescued an 8 to 10 week old Border Collie mix puppy from the fire and he needs a good home. Also rescued were 3 kittens: Smokey, Burney & Sparky. They were burned in the fire & are currently at the vet. They should make a full recovery & will need homes too. Anyone interested in adopting these animals should contact Tuolumne County Animal Control at 209.984.1338.
REHABILITATION: This work is described as "running strong" and is projected for completion by Sunday. This work includes crews on dozers recontouring firebreaks, hillsides & creekbeds.
INVESTIGATION: An active arson investigation continues by CDF & the Mariposa County Sheriff's Department. Anyone having any information about the cause of the fire should contact CDF / Mariposa: 209.966.3622 ext. 270.
ROADS: All major roads have been reopened with one exception: Old Priest Grade. Heavy emergency vehicles haven't been kind to this narrow, steep roadway which was slated for repavement before the fire anyway. Repaving continues this week; the road is slated to be closed through Labor Day.
COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE: The American Red Cross met with people who suffered losses in the fire Tuesday & Wednesday at the Groveland Library. The American Red Cross: 209.533.1513
PHOTOS: We've avoided photos because we needed this information to download quickly. Folks shouldn't have to wait for a banner ad or some cute graphic when they're after the facts ... fast. CDF has supplied us with some nice photos though. We've made links to 7 separate pages for faster downloading too. We still have photos from other agencies & private parties we want to post. Stay tuned.
#1Taken Monday morning, this photo shows the west flank. Note the dozer line on the left & Highway 49 on the right.
#2Taken Monday morning, CDF Tanker 82 makes a drop heading toward Marsh Flat.
#3Taken Monday morning, a spot fire can be seen through the smoke just east of Priest Coulterville Road.
#4Look closely at the house & you'll see a fire engine. This house on Jackass Ridge was saved.
#5The fire fight is a cooperative effort. Here is a Merced County engine crew preparing to battle the flames.
#6The flame lengths were often huge as seen here towering above tall timber.
#7Burned hillsides show where the fire was as it continues to burn in the background.
Special thanks to CDF for those great shots.
A HEART FELT THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO HELPED SAVE OUR COMMUNITIES: They include:
Mariposa County Fire Department
Mariposa County Sheriffs Department
Tuolumne County Fire Department
Tuolumne County Sheriffs Department
Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services
Tuolumne County Animal Control
Greeley Hill Volunteer Fire Department
Southern Marin County Fire Department
Los Angeles County Fire Department
Merced County Fire Department
Napa Fire Department
Barona Fire Department
Forestville Fire Department
Winton Fire Department
Turlock Rural Fire Department
Groveland Fire Department
Groveland Community Services District
City of San Marcos Fire Department
City of Merced Fire Department
City of Burlingame Fire Department
City of Mountainview Fire Department
City of Salinas Fire Department
City of Los Banos Fire Department
City of Santa Clara Fire Department
City of San Jose Fire Department
City of Milpitas Fire Department
City of Escondido Fire Department
City of Fremont Fire Department
City of Saratoga Fire Department
City of San Bruno Fire Department
City of South San Francisco Fire Department
City of Santa Cruz City Fire Department
City of Paradise Fire Department
Foster City Fire Department
Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department
Scotts Valley Fire Protection
Branciforte Fire Protection
Ophir Hill Fire Protection
Watsonville Fire Protection
Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection
Zayante Fire Protection
Boulder Creek Fire Protection
Felton Fire Protection
Santa Cruz Central Fire Protection
Santa Cruz County Fire Protection
Santa Clara County Fire Protection
Moffit Field / Nasa Ames Fire Protection
California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection
California Department of Corrections
California Youth Authority
California Department of Transportation
California Highway Patrol
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Forest Service
American Red Cross
All the independent contractors & individuals who worked so hard
The tireless volunteers at CDF / Mariposa who have worked those long 12 hour days
The tireless volunteers at Tuolumne County's OES in Moccasin
(editor: We want to acknowledge all of those who are assisting. If you know of an agency involved that's not listed above or if you know of someone who has offered special assistance, please let us know via e-mail: email@example.com ... Thank you.)
EMERGENCY DECLARATION & HEALTH ADVISORY: a Local State of Emergency in Tuolumne County was rescinded Tuesday by the board of supervisors. There is still some smoke & haze in the area ... almost all of it from other fires in the central Sierra. Smoke at times had been so thick that visitors to Yosemite Valley have had a hard time seeing world famous Half Dome. Click below for a real time webcam view of Half Dome (viewable only from dawn to dusk):
Yosemite Valley/Half Dome Web Cam
WHAT TURNED THE TIDE?:
1. an aggressive battle plan both in the air & on the ground.
2. cooperating weather.
BATTLE PLAN: last Wednesday turned out to be the key day with a tripling of air strike power. An indication of how hard air crews & their ground support worked: they were performing what are termed "hot loads." That's when engines aren't even turned off during the refueling process. A visit to the CDF headquarters at Columbia Airport revealed a mini-city with several dozen people working together like a well-oiled machine. Refueling planes, cleaning the tarmac, washing trucks ... it was a site to behold. Needless to say, ground crews were tireless ... be it the seasoned pro on a dozer or the CDC inmate with a rake. In the air & on the ground, the work was done & we now see their success.
COOPERATING WEATHER: Mother Nature gave us a major assist. A slow moving weather front brought firefighter - friendly cooler temperatures to Yosemite / Gold Country ... and a light breeze that refused to turn into feared wind gusts. Only now do we have a heat wave ... at a time when the fire is 100% contained. Current conditions? ... wind speed, direction, relative humidity, temperature? Click below to access real time Groveland / Pine Mountain Lake Weather:
Groveland/Pine Mountain Lake Weather: updated every 10 minutes
QUICK HISTORY: the fire broke out at 2:29pm Saturday and spread quickly in Mariposa County near the Mariposa / Tuolumne County line. Sunday the fire entered Tuolumne County with a troublesome northeastern flank burning quickly toward Priest Coulterville Road & Jackass Ridge. Late Monday, flames were observed leaping a ridge on the Yosemite side of Groveland...many miles from the Creek Fire's Saturday afternoon origins. By Tuesday evening the fire had grown to more than 11,000 acres with 60% containment. Late Wednesday we finally began to get some good news: additional equipment & personnel, improved weather conditions and finally an upper hand. 10pm, Wednesday: 75% containment with the news that evacuees would be allowed to return home. Thursday, 12noon: 85% containment & a complete perimeter around the fire. Evacuees head home on roads newly reopened (to area residents only). Damage assessment continues; clean up begins. Thursday night: containment is up to 95%. Friday morning: fire is 100% contained; damage assessment is complete. Friday midday: it's now reported that 11 homes have burned in the fire. Saturday: mop up of hot spots continued. Damage Assessment Report finalized with 13 homes destroyed. Sunday: Mop up and FLIR mapping continued with more resources released. Cost of the fire is up to $7.5 million. Monday: mopping up and demobilization continue. Fire headquarters at Horeshoe Bend dismantled. Cost estimate revised to $7.18 million. Tuesday: transfer of fire responsibility back to Tuolumne & Mariposa CDF. Final estimated cost of the fire: $7.7 million.
A LONG BATTLE: The Creek Fire is not over. Extinguishing any remaining smoldering stumps or hot spots, rehabilitation ... lots of work & it will all take time. Sadly, it will take several decades for the pinon pines to regrow to former heights. It will be years before the watershed is fully repaired. We will be hearing a lot about reseeding & reforestation in the weeks to come. We'll continue the prompt posting of late breaking news.
THANK YOU: May I suggest you take a moment to thank a fireman or a volunteer? I would personally like to thank the folks who have assisted me so capably at CDF / Mariposa. Kudos to all of you. Several folks I've talked to have expressed an interest in some special salute to the firefighters. Most of the firefighters will have already returned to their respective homes or next assignment but perhaps some community appreciation pictures could be posted on the web? I would also propose a "Firefighters' Day" or a "Firefighters' Weekend" ... an official day of appreciation in both Mariposa & Tuolumne Counties. It could be held at the end of the fire season & could include lots of fire related special events. Firefighters & their families could be invited back to our counties. We would have the proper time to organize our salutes and salutations and they would have the time to appreciate them. What do you think? Please e-mail any suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
A MODEST PROPOSAL: Many of you will most likely not be visiting this page again. Might I suggest that you visit & bookmark our www.yosemitegold.com homepage? There's lots of content, great weather info & when news breaks out in Yosemite / Gold Country, you have my pledge that we'll be covering it to the best of our abilities. If you live here or if you visit here, this site is a valuable resource ... and it will only get better. For those of you who don't know me, I've spent most of my life as a journalist ... included many years in LA radio. Like so many others who live here, I left the big city for a quieter, kinder life & I left radio for something new: the internet. These days I design websites & link many of them to my www.yosemitegold.com mega site. I've been doing it for 8 years (that's a long time in the relatively short history of the internet) & hope to do it for years to come. If you would be so kind as to thank or patronize one of our advertisers, it would be much appreciated. Thank you for visiting this site & your positive feedback.
This page will be updated when new info is available.