National Guard attempting to rescue dozens trapped amid California wildfire

By MATT ZARRELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The National Guard is working to rescue dozens of people who are still trapped near the Creek Fire in Fresno County, California.

There are multiple locations where people are unable to get out; the record-high heat, low humidity, wind conditions and rugged terrain have made rescue operations difficult.

There are currently rescue operations underway — a National Guard helicopter is trying to reach Hidden Lake and a Navy search and rescue helicopter is heading towards Lake Edison where people are trapped, Col. Jesse Miller with the California National Guard told ABC News’ Good Morning America on Tuesday.

“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.

Overnight, 35 people were rescued by helicopter — 13 from China Peak and 22 from Lake Edison. There were more than 200 people rescued on Monday, officials said.

The condition of the people who remain trapped is unclear, the National Guard said.

At least 65 structures have been destroyed and more than 5,300 homes are threatened.

The Creek Fire is located near the communities of Shaver Lake, Big Creek and Huntington Lake. The fire has also spread towards the San Joaquin River.

Approximately 976 firefighters were battling the blaze on Monday, Cal Fire said. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company has cut off power to about 172,000 customers in 22 counties in the areas of the Sierra Foothills, northern Sierra and elevated North Bay terrain over safety concerns, the utility company announced Tuesday morning.

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