A dangerous rescue mission was underway early Tuesday morning as firefighters and the National Guard airlifted at least 35 people trapped by the Creek Fire in Fresno County and were sending more helicopters to save dozens of others, NBC News reported.
The mission included Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters with night vision capabilities. At least 50 people had hunkered down in the Sierra National Forest late Monday night, surrounded by flames.
Col. David Hall of the Army National Guard, based in Fresno, told NBC News they had helicopters going to four different locations, and the first ones came back with 13 people on board.
“We’re going to keep working tirelessly throughout the night until we get as many people out as we can,” Hall said.
The people were trapped near Chinese Peak and Lake Edison; it was the second attempt at a rescue. Crews tried earlier, but the smoke made it impossible, officials said.
The fire has scorched more than 135,000 acres with no containment.
Fire officials are calling it an “unprecedented disaster.”
Source: NBC Bay Area