History of the Collaborative

The California Office of Emergency Services (CAES) Disaster Long-Term team, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) long-term recovery team, reached out to United Way in Fresno and Madera Counties. Both these larger organizations realized that recovering from the Creek Fire would take a long-term commitment by a dedicated group.

United Way had already been working on Creek Fire disaster relief and had connected with various other nonprofits and organizations offering Creek Fire resources. So, with United Way’s assistance, and the guidance of CAES and FEMA, we started having Zoom meetings and spreading the word.

Flash forward, we are now a collaborative with bylaws, sub-committees, a Chairperson, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. We have over 54 nonprofits, government organizations and private organizations in our collaborative.

Collaborative Members List

Members as of 4/12/21
American Red Cross
California Office of Emergency Services (CAES)
Camarena Health
Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno
Catholic Charities of California
Central California Food Bank
Central Sierra Resiliency Fund
Central Valley Stuttering Center
Church of Shaver Lake
Church World Service
Clovis Hills Community Church
Cornerstone Church
Coarsegold Resource Conservation District
Cross City Church
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Fresno County Dept. Behavioral Health
Fresno County Dept Social Services
Fresno County Office of Emergency Services
Fresno Regional Workforce Dev Board
Fresno State - Richter Center
Habitat for Humanity
Hands On Central California
Haven of Hope on Wheels
Highway 168 Fire Safe Council
Hope Crisis Response Center
Imagine You Project / Sonoma COAD
Islamic Relief USA
Madera County District 5 Board Supervisor
Madera County VOAD
Markit! Forestry Management
Mennonite Disaster Services
Our Towns Newspaper Auberry
People Land Food
Pine Ridge Property Owners Assoc.
Poverello House
Project Camp
Rebuild our Sierra
Rise Visalia
Saint Agnes Medical Center
Salvation Army
Self Help Enterprises
Shaver Lake Lions Club
Greater Shaver Lake Visitors Bureau
Sierra Foundation
Sierra Hills Baptist Church
Sierra Resource Conservation District
Talahi Media Arts
Team Rubicon
Trauma intervention Programs, Foothill
Tree Fresno
Tzu Chi Foundation
United Methodist Committee On Relief
United Way Fresno and Madera Counties
World Renew
Yosemite-Sequoia Resource Conservation & Dev. Council

Board Structure

The Creek Fire Recovery Committee is made up of the Advisory Board which
is comprised by the elected officers and the chair of each sub-committee.

Elected Officers:
Donna Martin, Vice-Chair
Tanner Michaelson, Treasurer
Sandy Jean, Secretary

List of Committees


Case Management Committee
Coordinates resource referrals and care for families and individuals impacted by the Creek Fire in Fresno and Madera Counties. Disaster Case Management Facilitator may be utilized to act as chair on the Advisory Board; facilitate disaster case management and training of long-term disaster case workers; refer and present cases to the Unmet Needs Committee. The disaster case management process involves:

  • Screening and intake of clients for Case Management services
  • Assisting clients with recovery planning
  • Assessing recovery needs of clients and collecting pertinent documentation/
  • Summarizing unmet client needs for the Unmet Needs Committee
  • Assisting in coordination and implementation of the recovery plan
  • Monitoring recovery progress of clients and submit monthly reports to the Creek Fire Recovery Collaborative summarizing the status of cases in-progress, work completed, cases closed, cases remaining, and funding needed.
Unmet Needs Committee:
Receives and acts on referrals from Case Management Committee. Comprised of General Members of the Collaborative bringing money (cash financial support), materials (donations, equipment, building supplies, household items, furniture, appliances, etc.), or muscle (volunteer labor crews and expertise) to meet the needs of survivors who are being served by the case management process but who still are in need of more resources to recover.

Community Infrastructure and Habitat Restoration Committee
Works closely with community leaders and residents affected by the Creek Fire to: identify values of the community, monitor the effectiveness of the Creek Fire Recovery Collaborative’s efforts, and facilitate various aspects of environmental and public-use area recovery. Representative duties of the Community Infrastructure and Habitat Restoration Committee include:

Community outreach:
  • Organize and facilitate town hall meetings and/or disperse written materials to provide information and receive feedback from the impacted community.
  • Disperse messages to affected communities, such as: safe practices, property cleanup protocols, available community resources, etc.
  • Canvas residents for feedback on community and individual needs.
  • Build relations with local: schools; education offices; philanthropic organizations; volunteer firefighter groups; businesses; utility offices.
  • Help identify potential clients and potential recovery actions.
  • Recovery of natural resources
  • Restoration of native habitats, soil erosion prevention, reforestation, water safety, etc.
  • Recovery of community structures and properties
  • i.e. parks, hiking trails, common use properties, and infrastructure.
Community Health & Wellness Committee
The Community Health & Wellness Committee will focus on ensuring the overall mental and emotional wellness of the individuals and families impacted by the Creek Fire. Maintain a multi-agency list of contacts, resources, and social services available to board members, collaborative partners, and survivors to be stored on the common-use communication platform utilized by the Creek Fire Recovery Committee. Work closely with case managers to identify and refer individuals in need to the necessary mental health resources, neighborhood resource centers, spiritual or religious centers.

Finance and Resource Management Committee
The Creek Fire Recovery Collaborative has chosen to use an agency to act as a Fiscal Sponsor rather than becoming a 501c3.
  • We are grateful that United Way of Fresno and Madera Counties have agreed to manage the record-keeping and financial reporting.
  • They have appointed a decision-making representative to act as chair of the Finance Committee and Treasurer on the Advisory Board.
  • Representative duties of the Finance and Resource Management Committee include:
  • Understand the rules and regulations unique to disaster recovery.
  • Track and verify allocation of funds for the Creek Fire Recovery Collaborative.
  • Provide information to the Advisory Board in order to protect the collaborative from liability issues.
  • Research and apply for relevant grants.
  • Develop fundraising campaigns.
  • Meet with new donors to solicit donations.
  • Collaborate with and expand on existing partnerships.
Volunteer Coordination Committee
Coordinate with partners who can provide volunteer labor crews and expertise to provide opportunities that are in line with the overall advisory board’s long term recovery goals.
  • Representative duties may include:
  • Work with the Communications Committee to publicize volunteer needs and opportunities; and to recruit relevant volunteer partners and volunteer workers.
  • Assists volunteer agencies with local logistics of lodging, shopping, and meals.
  • Oversee the coordination of diverse volunteer organizations, with their own internal policies, into a cohesive effort to effectively respond and rebuild homes and lives of survivors.
  • Maintain a database of volunteers to be stored on the common-use communication platform utilized by the Creek Fire Recovery Committee.
  • Track, log and report volunteer hours.
Construction Coordination and Logistics Committee
Oversees and coordinates construction aspects of the Creek Fire recovery efforts. Especially in regards to the repair, building, and/or rebuilding of physical structures, wells, septic tanks, and other necessary facilities. Representative duties of the Construction Coordination and Logistics Committee:
  • Oversee and inventory any warehoused building materials.
  • Ensure volunteer partners access to common use building materials and / or supplies.
  • Maintain a positive relationship with inspectors.
  • Assist volunteer agencies establish MOUs for construction materials with building suppliers.
  • Assists clients obtain building permits.
  • Knowledge of pertinent local / county building codes and best practices; as well as applicable FEMA regulations.
  • Work with Volunteer Coordination Committee to match projects to volunteer organizations.
  • Equip and train leadership of volunteer agencies as to the building codes relevant to rebuilding in the local area.
  • Maintain hard copies of pertinent codes, floor plans, etc, to be stored on the common-use communication platform utilized by the Creek Fire Recovery Committee.
  • Ensure code compliance on building projects.
Communications Committee Communication is crucial for the success of any collaborative network. The Communications Committee will seek to develop a comprehensive and transparent communication strategy to a) encourage cohesiveness in the long term recovery operation and b) communicate a compelling story to share with the public while, at the same time respecting client privacy and confidentiality. Timely delivery of information between the Advisory Board, Subcommittees, and General Membership partners will decrease confusion and frustration that is prone to happen in the constantly evolving nature of long term recovery functions. The Elected Secretary will most likely act as a member of this committee to:

  • Maintain consistent, current and accurate communications and minutes to Advisory Board members and partners within the Creek Fire Recovery Collaborative.
  • Develop appropriate access policies to common use information and confidential information located on the communication platform utilized by the LTRG.
  • Maintain master contact lists from the Subcommittees and Advisory Board to be stored on the common-use communication platform utilized by the Creek Fire Recovery Collaborative.
  • In order to promote the Mission Statement of the LTRG with a message that supports the collaborative nature of our goals in a positive and relevant manner, keeping the community informed as disaster recovery progresses will promote goodwill and keep our mission in front of the public eye.
  • Maintain a list of requests and responses to media inquiries, such as: press releases, interviews, etc.
  • Maintain contact lists for outreach to different audiences, such as: media outlets; special interest groups; donors, etc.
  • Utilize established methods and/or develop creative new methods to publicize progress and volunteer needs through various federal, state, and local venues.
  • Facilitate the maintenance of, and updates to, websites and social media pages.
  • Develop a visual record of the recovery process as much as possible, including photos and videography. Maintain signed consent forms from clients and volunteers before publishing photos or videos.

Notes From Survivors and First Responders

“We would come up the mountain every morning and stay here until late at night, putting out fires, cutting line and protecting homes that had not burned. One of the strangest feelings was when we would simply drive by a small fire or a burning stump and not put it out because there were too many bigger flames that had to be dealt with.” Ari Arroyo (Engineer & Firefighter, Pine Ridge Volunteer Fire Dept.)

“I feel honored to be one of hundreds of firefighters on the Creek Fire (assigned Fresno Fire Brush 3 – Task Force 5054) to have played a small part in saving/preserving what we could.” Mark Martinez (Fresno Fire Captain)

“We are a volunteer company and have been on plenty of smaller fires. Several acres, lots of flames and heat. We would go to the fire and fight it on our terms. But this was nothing like it. Our entire world was fire. The black sky was brought by the fire. The intense heat in everything you breathed or touched was the fire letting us know it was there. The embers floating down from the black clouds were just another way of the fire letting us know we were in its territory, and it had home field advantage.” James Parr (Chief, Pine Ridge Volunteer Fire Dept.)

“In my twenty-six years of fire service I have always been the one running into the fire, never the one to have to evacuate. This is the first time I have been one of the victims and now I can empathize with the emotions evacuees go through. It is significant to realize how it feels on the other side of the fire, the total lack of control.” Joanne Arnew (Auberry Volunteer Fire Department)

“We never thought our neighborhood and surrounding communities would be victims of such devastation as that caused by the Creek Fire. What we found was incredible strength, resilience and hope within ourselves, within our neighbors and the complete strangers who came together to rebuild and hold us up until we could do it on our own.” Peter Arroyo (Firefighter, Pine Ridge Volunteer Fire Department)

“One day in late October when the outside fire companies had left and my husband had gone back to work, I was standing on my deck and looked out to see that there was only my lone fire engine and no other people or vehicles, and everything was quiet. It was a strange feeling and I did not know what to do with myself. I realized then that the world would go on and although our beautiful forest would be forever changed, there would be regrowth and rebuilding and we would find a way to come back stronger than ever.” Ari Arroyo (Engineer, Pine Ridge Volunteer Fire Department)