Raising the Roof

On Friday, July 22, 2022, Ben Turck and I met with Tanner Michaelson of the Creek Fire Recovery Collective at a property on the edge of the Creek Fire burn scar. We also met with several other volunteers and helped assemble a pre-fabricated shed for a homeowner severely affected by the fire.

The shed, built by high-school students in Fresno as a part of the Rebuild our Sierra program, was quickly assembled with Ben’s expert help using one of our telescoping grapple saws (TGS) as a crane. The shed will offer the homeowner much-needed storage as he begins to rebuild his home. NBC local news covered the event.

This shed is one of the first of many structures to be built by volunteers as a part of the Rebuild our Sierra program. The program is a remarkable and collaborative volunteer effort by many people, and I think it’s important that we continue to support this initiative.

The largest single wildfire in the history of the State of California

The Creek Fire started on September 4, 2020, near Shaver Lake. It affected both Fresno and Madera counties and burned on both sides of the San Joaquin River. Sadly, the fire also destroyed 856 structures, most of which were primary residences. According to Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig, over $250 million in homes were lost to the blaze. Many of the residents who lost their homes did not have insurance.

Alex Olow of the U.S. Forest Services noted that nearly 3,000 fire personnel fought the Creek Fire that burned for four months. Small communities like Big Creek, Pine Ridge, Auberry, Alder Springs, and Meadow Lakes lost nearly everything. The fire swept through nearly 400,000 acres of forest and was not fully contained until Christmas Eve, 2020. The fire burned mainly in the Sierra National Forest, known for its mountain scenery and beautiful lakes.

If you’d like to learn more about the Creek Fire Recovery Collective and the work they’re doing to support people affected by this disaster, please visit creekfirerecovery.com.

From left to right — Tanner Michaelson, Board Chair, Creek Fire Recovery Collective; Doug Halderman, Applied Technology Construction Instructor, Fresno City College; Michele Meisch, Founder, Rebuild our Sierra; Ben Turck, Equipment Operator, ArborWorks; Ricco Guajardo, Instructor, Applied Technology Construction, Fresno City College; Moses Flores, Owner, Moses Construction Co.