About 150 people have been trapped by a raging wildfire near Mammoth Pool Reservoir in northern California, where officials warned they may have to jump into the water to survive.
The Madera County Sheriff’s office said in a statement on Saturday night that approximately 150 people were sheltering-in-place at the reservoir in Sierra National Forrest with 10 injuries reported.
Evacuation routes are blocked and people in the area were told to shelter in place — even if that means getting into the water, officials said.
Fire radio traffic indicated that multiple people had sustained burn injuries and others broken bones in the Creek Fire, and were being rescued by helicopter at the Mammoth Pool Reservoir.
The first National Guard Chinook to depart loaded more than 50 people, with up to 20 of them requiring immediate medical transport, scanner traffic indicated.
In a statement, the Sierra National Forrest said that 53 individuals were rescued from the Mammoth Pool boat launch area, and will be evaluated for injuries.
The reservoir is roughly 90 miles east of Fresno. Earlier reports that up to 1,000 people were trapped were later revised.
A National Guard Chinook arrives to rescue trapped campers in Sierra National Forrest on Saturday. The chopper loaded more than 50 people, with up to 20 of them requiring immediate medical transport, scanner traffic indicated
There were reports of burn injuries and broken bones after officials warned campers they may have to jump into the water to survive as National Guard helicopters scrambled to rescue them
Labor Day weekend campers were trapped near Mammoth Pool Reservoir in Sierra National Park on Saturday after the Creek Fire exploded and blocked off escape routes
People park their trucks as traffic comes to a stop at Highway CA-168 and Lodge Road on Saturday, the bottom of the ‘four-lane,’ as residents are evacuated near Shaver Lake
Plumes of smoke rise into the sky as a wildfire burns on the hills near Shaver Lake Saturday. The fire jumped a ridge and has cut off the only evacuation route from Mammoth Pool
This map shows the approximate extent of the Creek Fire in the national forest on Saturday
The Creek Fire is threatening a range of mountain resources, including structures, communities and power lines.
The fire had burned 36,000 acres and was 0 percent contained as of 7.30pm on Saturday.
It is one of several wildfires ravaging the Sierra National Forrest as a brutal heat wave pushed temperatures into triple digits in many parts of state.
The wildfire burning near Shaver Lake exploded to 56 square miles, jumped a river and compromised the only road into the Mammoth Pool Campground, national forest spokesman Dan Tune said.
At least 2,000 structures were threatened in the area about 290 miles north of Los Angeles, where temperatures in the city’s San Fernando Valley reached 117 degrees.
Tune said the campers were told to shelter in place until fire crews, aided by water-dropping aircraft, could gain access to the site. Tune said he didn’t know how close the fire was burning to the campsite.
‘All our resources are working to make that escape route nice and safe for them,’ he said.
A tanker plane is seen fighting the Creek Fire in California on Saturday. The fire had burned 36,000 acres and was 0 percent contained as of 7.30pm on Saturday
Smoke from a wildfire rises into the air near Shaver Lake, California on Saturday. The fires in the Sierra National Forest have prompted an evacuation orders
Traffic comes to a stop at Highway CA-168 and Lodge Road as people are evacuated and roads closed because of a wildfire Saturday in Sierra National Forrest
Satellite imagery shows smoke from the fires in Sierra National Forrest in northern California
The lake 35 miles northeast of Fresno is surrounded by thick pine forests and is a popular destination for boating and fishing. Bone-dry conditions and the hot weather fueled the flames.
‘Once the fire gets going, it creates its own weather, adding wind to increase the spread,’ Tune said.
The fire broke out Friday evening. Crews worked through the night, but by Saturday morning authorities issued evacuation orders for lakeside communities and urged people seeking relief from the Labor Day weekend heat to stay away from the popular lake.
‘Adjust your Labor Day weekend plans. Access to Shaver Lake is completely closed to the public due to the #CreekFire,’ the Fresno County sheriff’s office tweeted after announcing evacuation orders for campsites and communities by the lake.
The California Highway Patrol shut State Route 168 to only allow access for emergency responders and evacuees.
A wildfire that broke out near Shaver Lake in the Sierra National Forest has prompted evacuation orders as authorities urged people seeking relief from the Labor Day weekend heat wave to stay away from the popular lake
The wildfire burning near Shaver Lake exploded to 56 square miles, jumped a river and compromised the only road into the Mammoth Pool Campground
In Southern California, a fire in the foothills of Yucaipa east of Los Angeles prompted evacuation orders for eastern portions of the city of 54,000 along with several communities, including Oak Glen, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said the fire scorched at least 1.5 square miles and was burning at a ‘moderate to dangerous’ rate of spread.
A portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness was closed, and hikers were urged to leave.
In eastern San Diego County, fire officials warned a fire near Alpine was burning at a ‘dangerous rate of speed’ after spreading to 400 acres (0.6 square miles) within an hour. A small community south of Alpine in the Cleveland National Forest was ordered to evacuate.
Cal Fire said nearly 12,500 firefighters were battling 22 major fires in the state. Despite the heat, firefighters were able to contain two major fires in coastal Monterey County.
Smoke from a wildfire rises into the sky in Sierra National Forrest on Saturday, when there were reports of multiple injuries and some 150 people were trapped with no escape route
California has seen 900 wildfires since August 15, many of them started by an intense series of thousands of lightening strikes. The blazes have burned more than 1.5 million acres (2,343 square miles). There have been eight fire deaths and nearly 3,300 structures destroyed.
The heat wave was expected to spread triple-digit temperatures over much of California through Monday. Officials urged people to conserve electricity to ease the strain on the state´s power grid.
Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest utility, warned customers Saturday that it might cut power starting Tuesday because of expected high winds and heat that could create even greater fire danger.
Some of the state’s largest and deadliest fires in recent years have been sparked by downed power lines and other utility equipment.