– This page was last updated on 12/12/2020 at 4:15am PST –
Always refresh this page for the most current version.
This page has recovery information for residents and businesses impacted by the Creek Fire. For links to track the fire itself, go to my main Creek Fire page at https://jennasworkshop.com/creekfire/
1. Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have suffered losses from the Creek Fire and are insured, you should first contact your insurance company and file a claim for disaster-related damages. Take photographs or video of the damage and keep any receipts related to home repair. Per CalOES, insurance delivers the majority of financial help in disasters.
2. Apply for FEMA Assistance
*The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is 12/16/2020*
FEMA lists the disaster declaration date as
The Creek Fire-specific FEMA disaster is
California Wildfires (DR-4569-CA)
FEMA will only process applications that are linked to the correct disaster.
FEMA has made federal disaster assistance available to those who have been impacted by the Creek Fire. Grants may help eligible survivors with financial assistance that includes rent, home repair, home replacement and other disaster-related needs such as childcare, medical and dental expenses. FEMA will refer small business applicants to the Small Business Administration. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the fire may begin applying for assistance by any of these methods:
- Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov
- Download the FEMA Mobile App and register there
- Call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY)
Other important FEMA information:
- What happens after you apply for FEMA Assistance?
- CalOES tips to speed FEMA wildfire assistance
- Info on how FEMA will conduct remote property inspections by phone due to COVID-19 restrictions
- FEMA Individual Assistance Pamphlet (includes information on appealing FEMA’s decision on your application)
If you are having trouble getting FEMA assistance approval and need help from your elected official, contact Rep. Tom McClintock’s office:
Representative Tom McClintock, CA 4th District
Call Rep. McClintock’s District Office in Roseville (do not call the D.C. office). Say you want to talk to a Constituent Services Representative.
Roseville District Office
2200A Douglas Blvd, Suite 240
Roseville, CA 95661
Phone: (916) 786-5560
Fax: (916) 786-6364
3. Fresno County-Specific Information:
Property owners who want to search debris for possible salvageable items should do so with caution, disturbing as little of the ash as possible, and with proper protective gear including eye protection, masks, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Residents should minimize contact with fire debris, which may contain materials that can be hazardous to your health. Read more on the EPA’s Protect Yourself from Ash and CLCA Safe Cleanup of Fire Ash and Debris
Proper debris removal is required of:
- Fire damaged or destroyed houses
- All auxiliary structures 120 square feet or larger which were fire damaged or destroyed
- Auxiliary structures less than 120 square feet that contained hazardous materials
Residents have two options to choose from to handle debris removal:
OPTION 1: Clean up your own property using licensed contractors at your own expense. Those who opt-out of government-provided cleanup services must apply for a permit to handle their own debris cleanup (all permit fees will be waived) and must sign a comprehensive acknowledgment waiver and release. For full instructions on this process go to the Fresno County Debris Removal page and scroll down to the “Private Property Owner Cleanup” section.
Note: Auxiliary structures less than 120 square feet which did not contain hazardous materials are exempt from the Owner Initiated Fire Debris Removal application process.
If you have submitted a permit application and are having trouble getting the permit approved and need assistance from your elected official, contact Supv. Nathan Magsig’s office:
Supervisor Nathan Magsig, District 5
2281 Tulare St. Room #300
Fresno, CA 93721
Phone: (559) 600-5000
Fax: (559) 600-1609
OPTION 2: Accept Federal and State assistance at no out-of-pocket expense to you. Residents are automatically enrolled in this service and must opt-out if they do not want to participate. Government-sponsored cleanup will be done in two phases:
Phase 1: Household Hazardous Waste Removal
Start Date: First week of November
Agency: US Environmental Protection Agency
Cost: Provided at no cost to residents.
All residents whose homes were destroyed from the fires are automatically enrolled into the Phase I removal program. Property owners using a private contractor can opt-out. Includes rapid removal of household hazardous waste, including propane tanks, compressed gas cylinders, and solvents. Assessment of properties for asbestos and remove easily identifiable asbestos material.
Phase 2: Debris Removal
UPDATE 11/5: Registration for Phase 2 cleanup is now open. Go to the Fresno County Debris Removal Page, and under the “Phase 2 Debis Removal” section you’ll find links to the Right of Entry form that must be completed. This service is available at no out-of-pocket cost, however, those with insurance must agree that any insurance proceeds in a property owner’s homeowners policy designated for debris removal will be turned over to the government.
Start Date: Following Completion of Phase 1, estimated to begin mid-December, 2020
Agency: Cal OES & California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery
NOTE: This process is ongoing and updates/changes will likely occur. For more information on this process and any updates, check the following resources:
- Fresno County Debris Removal Page
- Supervisor Nathan Magsig’s Facebook page
- Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s Creek Fire Cleanup page
- Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s Facebook page
Environmental Health inspectors have also been assessing the hazardous waste/debris and ash from the Creek Fire destruction of structures. This data is being collected to assist with efforts to hopefully obtain Federal disaster funding as well as facilitate preliminary planning for debris cleanup.
If you are a property owner, you may request an emailed copy of your debris assessment report via email. Read the Fresno County Hazmat Debris Assessment memo for more information.
If you have other debris-removal questions that were not addressed here, contact the Fresno County Environmental Health Division at 559-600-3271 and ask to speak with the Specialist of the Day.
Dead or Downed Tree Removal
Hazardous trees that may fall on your property, or your neighbor’s property, are the property owner’s responsibility. Fresno County will be contracting with registered professional foresters to be made available to provide guidance to property owners on ways to manage their trees. To request this service, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Fresno County Water and Natural Resources Division at (559) 600-0531. For information on requesting a permit to commercially harvest dead or downed trees, go to Fresno County’s Tree Removal Page
For trees on property along Hwy 168:
Caltrans is in the process of removing burned or hazardous trees along Highway 168. If your property is adjacent to Highway 168 and you have burned or hazardous trees that are located within 100 feet of the highway’s center line, call (559) 445-6034 to request that they be removed by Caltrans.
For information on SoCal Edison, PG&E and water utilities, got to the Fresno County Additional Resources page and scroll to the “Utilities” section in the middle of the page.
Occupying Temporary Housing Units
If you intend to occupy a temporary housing unit on your property, check out this Fresno County memo on Allowable Temporary Dwelling Units.
For information on permits to repair or reconstruct dwellings lost to the Creek Fire:
- Visit Fresno County’s Creek Fire Plan Check and Permit Assistance Page
- Send an email to email@example.com
- or call 559-600-4279
4. Madera County-Specific Information
Madera County Creek Fire recovery resources can be found at https://www.maderacounty.com/government/creek-fire (Click on the “Returning Home” menu item). Specific documents of interest:
- Madera County Ash & Burn Debris Cleanup Memo
- Environmental Health – Returning Home After a Wildfire
- Madera Co. Sheriff – Returning Home Checklist
5. Prepare for Winter Storms and Prevent Soil Erosion
Flash floods are a real and potentially deadly hazard after a wildfire, particularly as a result of rain falling over a burned area upstream of your property. Burned soils are now more vulnerable to erosion, mudslides, debris laden flooding, rockfall and debris flows.
Read the NRCS’s Homeowner’s Guide to Erosion Control
Fresno County has created a guide to Winter Storm Readiness After Wildfire (much of the information is also applicable to Madera County)
Make sure you are subscribed to emergency alerts for your area in case of a winter storm or flash flood warning:
6. Apply for Food Assistance
If you are in need of food assistance, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) may help you replace food lost in a disaster or help you apply for D-SNAP benefits online. An expedited D-SNAP program for disasters exists to provide benefits within seven days. For more information, call 1-800-283-4465. In California, D-SNAP is administered by the Department of Social Services.
7. Replace Lost Documents
For information on replacing important documents lost in the fire, go to CalOES’s page on Replacing Personal Documents after a Natural Disaster
8. Mental Health Resources
The Creek Fire has impacted the community in unimaginable ways. It is important to remember that anxiety, sadness, and trouble sleeping are common responses to traumatic events. The effect of a disaster or traumatic event goes far beyond its immediate devastation. It takes time for survivors to grieve and rebuild individual and family lives. Please know that you are not alone and support is available.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline
Toll-Free: 1-800-985-5990 (English and Spanish)
SMS English: Text TalkWithUs to 66746
SMS Spanish: Text Hablanos al 66746
SAMHSA Website: English Version | Spanish Version
9. Air Quality & Smoke Resources
- EPA: Create a Clean Room to Protect Indoor Air Quality During a Wildfire
- State of Colorado: Indoor Air Quality After a Fire
- ServiceMaster: How to Remove Wildfire Forest Fire Smoke Odor in Your Home
- ServiceMaster: How to Remove Smoke Smell After a Fire
10. Donate or Volunteer
- Fresno County Donation/Volunteer Opportunities
- Madera County Donation Opportunities (Click on the “Donations” menu item)
- Community Action Partnership of Madera County, Inc. (CAPMC) Special Creek Fire Fund