Valley strike team providing protection for structures

August 22, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Imperial Valley firefighters called to Mariposa County to battle a brush fire were providing protection for structures as flames continued to threaten homes in several communities.

Deemed the Creek Fire, the blaze had burned more than 11,000 acres in Northern California and containment was not expected until 5 p.m. Saturday.

Just after 4 a.m. Tuesday, Imperial Valley firefighters were asked to join in battling the blaze.

Local fire agencies mobilized a strike team from the El Centro, Calexico, Brawley, Calipatria and Imperial County fire departments.

A second strike team, made up of the Holtville, Naval Air Facility El Centro and the city of Yuma fire departments as well as crews from Calipatria and Centinela state prisons, remained on high alert this morning.

El Centro Fire Chief Charles Beard, in charge of organizing the strike teams, said the second team still could be called to Mariposa County.


The fire, which fire officials have determined is an arson, erupted Saturday near Blacks Creek.

The fire, whipped by high winds, quickly spread, threatening several communities, among them Greeley Hill, Cloverland and Coulterville. Beard said as many 200 people have been forced to evacuate their homes and even more have voluntarily left the area.

More than 2,000 firefighters from around the state have been called in to battle the fire.

Beard said the 21 Imperial Valley firefighters are providing structure protection, making sure the flames are kept from homes.

He said local crews are expected to remain on scene until full containment of the fire is reached.

In the Imperial Valley, local fire departments are on notice to provide mutual aid as needed in light of the movement of personnel to Northern California.

Bear said local fire departments will be reimbursed by the state for any costs associated with sending the strike team to Mariposa County.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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