A mountainside home among hundreds of dead and dying trees is illuminated by the setting sun in a view from the Maynard Munger Vista Point overlooking Blue Canyon, along Hwy 168 south of Shaver Lake, Calif. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Sierra fire traps people at Mammoth Pool recreation area

Injuries reported as rescue operation gets underway

By Bryant-Jon Anteola and Anthony Galaviz

The Fresno Bee

At least 10 people were injured and others remained in danger Saturday night among the 1,000 people trapped near Mammoth Pool Reservoir due to a fast-growing wildfire, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were teaming up Saturday to rescue approximately 150 people who were sheltering-in-place at the Mammoth Pool Boat Launch. Despite some of the injuries, the group is safely sheltering-in-place, according to the sheriff’s office.

Agencies were coordinating an aircraft rescue for crews to come and safely evacuate them.

A reunification center will be established shortly and its location released to the public, the sheriff’s office added.

Law enforcement stressed that everyone avoid the Mammoth Pool Reservoir area, which is located roughly 23 miles southeast of Oakhurst.

The situation has been incredibly fluid.

Earlier in the day, Sierra National Forest spokesman Dan Tune said more than 1,000 were trapped near Mammoth Pool Reservoir after they were unable to evacuate in time.

Those stuck in the area were advised to shelter in place — even if it meant getting into the water, Tune said.

The Creek Fire is threatening a range of mountain resources, Tune said, including structures, communities and power lines.

“Mainly our focus is the safety of all the folks all over the forest,” Tune said, “just making sure folks are safe and get them evacuated.”

A command post was expected to be set up at Sierra High School in Tollhouse, most likely on Sunday, Tune said.

This is not the first time people have sought shelter in water during one of California’s wildfire seasons.

It happened as recently as 2018 during the Camp Fire at Concow Reservoir east of Paradise.


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