At least 63 people have been rescued so far, officials said late Saturday night. The Creek Fire has injured 12 people – two of them critically, according to the Fresno Fire Department, which describes the situation as a mass accident.
The fire is burning in the Sierra National Forest and has been raging since it began, said Dan Tune, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
The fire broke out Friday afternoon in the forest south of Yosemite National Park and rose to 36,000 acres by Saturday. A helicopter with a public address system issued the warning to the team at the lake.
The Mammoth Pool Reservoir is a popular recreation area, but Tune could not estimate how many people had been told to take their place.
“Emergency crews from many services must focus on the critical task – rescuing about 150 people fleeing the site at the Mammoth Pool Boat Launch,” the publication said. “We are in contact with those who are taking refuge in the Mammoth Pool Reservoir and while they have reported ten injuries, they are able to take refuge safely at this time.”
Campings throughout the area are subject to mandatory evacuation orders, but the outside route is compromised.
“The fire is going up as well as the road outside. We did not want to put campers trying to move a caravan to an area where there is a possibility of fire,” Tune said.
The fire is burning violently and temperatures in the area are approaching 100 degrees, Thun said.
“This is in a river gorge, so in the afternoon you pick up gorge winds,” Tuni said, adding that steady wind speeds are around 10-15 miles per hour.
There were some cases of limited visibility due to smoke, but planes and helicopters continued to fight the fire from the air, Tune said.
“The column in a fire like this can be quite dangerous, so the aircraft had to retreat for a while and come back as soon as conditions change,” he said.