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Dozens of hikers still trapped by Creek Fire, conditions making rescue efforts difficult

Dozens of hikes still trapped by Creek Fire, conditions making rescue efforts difficult
Posted at 8:25 AM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 10:01:14-04

The National Guard is attempting to rescue dozens of people who are currently trapped at a California resort as the Creek Fire continues to burn out of control in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

According to The Washington Post, about 50 hikers remain trapped at the Vermilion Valley Resort with all escape routes cut off by the fire. The hikers have been sheltering in place at the resort since Sunday night.

Officials have been unable to send rescue helicopters to the area due to low visibility caused by smoke from the fire. The area has dealt with high winds and record heat in recent days, which is making things difficult for both rescuers and firefighters.

However, Col. Jesse Miller of the National Guard said Tuesday that the weather was beginning to turn.

"Mother Nature is trying to help us out this morning with some of the smoke clearing, allowing visibility for the aircraft to pick up the landing zones and get in safely to our folks here in California," Miller said in an interview on Good Morning America on Tuesday.

So far, the wildfire is confirmed to have killed one person from smoke inhalation, according to the Fresno Fire Battalion. The Fresno County Sheriff's Office reports a second person died from a medical episode when EMS could not respond due to the conditions.

According to CALFIRE, the Creek Fire remains 0% contained as of Monday evening. The fire has been burning since Thursday but nearly doubled in size on Monday alone to cover nearly 80,000 acres.

Col. Jesse Miller told ABC News Tuesday morning that the National Guard is also attempting to send rescue helicopters to Hidden Lakes. It's unclear how many people are trapped at Hidden Lakes.

The Washington Post reports that more than 200 people were rescued from the Creek Fire over the weekend.