The Creek Fire in Fresno County, CA affected nearly 400,000 acres—at the time, the largest single fire in California history. Over the course of 4 months, it destroyed nearly 900 buildings and injured 24 people, causing at least $250 million in property damage and $20 – $30 million in infrastructure damage.

QK Engineers was hired by the County of Fresno to address a myriad of issues. Fresno hired QK Engineers to address the potential for flooding and erosion control issues in the wake of the fire and to present solutions to stabilize slopes, protect and rebuild the infrastructure that had sustained damage, and safeguard natural resources including fish and wildlife in the reservoirs along the San Joaquin River watershed.

The QK team was comprised of highly experienced and knowledgable staff including California-registered engineers, certified Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) specialists, and related technical professionals to take on the challenge of implementing best management practices (BMPs) and were up and running quickly.


Because of the high-stakes, seasonal dependencies of the project, all stakeholders were committed to working in unison once the fire had been contained in December 2020 and before the first snowfall estimated just 6 weeks away. As such, QK leveraged HeadLight’s collaborative capabilities to cohesively bring together engineers, field crews, and all other critical stakeholders.

The initial task was to assess the damage and propose effective solutions based on the project’s overall goals. This project is unique in that there was no established roadmap for the team to follow, for a project like this. The Creek Fire Post-Fire Erosion Control Project goals were to mitigate erosion on the newly barren hillside and prevent silt and ash-laden run-off into drainage systems. Additional benefits of this work include reducing the potential for mudslides, mitigating likelihood of road closure, and improving the ability of culverts to sheet water away. Preventing debris from flowing into the draining systems protects drinking water for 675,000 residents as well as wildlife in the San Joaquin River watershed.

“Cohesively managing all of the efforts in this high-risk area was critical and the complex execution of such a big team was so important to ensure that each step was followed in established order so that no one impeded project progress.”

– Andrea Pedraza, QSP of QK Engineers

Investing in the most effective inspection and verification technology available would:

  • Provide a higher level of oversight by allowing office and field engineers immediate access to project data
  • Ensure data integrity, consistency, and transparency
  • Provide real-time updates across the team as well as the County
  • Supply project inspectors with the tools to reduce the administrative burden
  • Enable proper data collection necessary for state and federal reporting
  • Improve accountability and transparency across teams


By equipping their teams with Headlight’s technology, QK’s team was able to navigate assessing, repairing, and protecting this landscape with increased speed and expertise. It also enabled them to manage field crews from multiple organizations in a high-risk area with many moving parts.

Headlight’s Fieldbook unifies the QK team with a single source of truth. Construction project inspectors collect rich data, including photo and video, track equipment and personnel in the field, upload reference files, flag areas of on-site concern, share this information with project stakeholders instantly, and use data validation tools to further ensure the accuracy of project information.

Stakeholders can not only see what’s happening in real-time, on-site data can be integrated into other systems to streamline workflows. Reports can be configured to align with the requirements of the local county and to simplify submittals to federal entities for funding.


By incorporating HeadLight’s technology into their strategy, QK engineers were able to identify and document post-wildfire erosion as well as flood and slide risks. The QK team mapped out post-fire run-off with GPS data which HeadLight automatically embedded in all multimedia content. HeadLight Solutions provide irrefutable project documentation and visual proof, thereby strengthening QK’s submission for FEMA reimbursement.

Storing data on the cloud enables all stakeholders to easily gain visibility into project information regardless of physical location. This level of data integrity, consistency, and transparency across the organization has multiple benefits—both during work on the post-fire erosion and sediment control project unfolded as well as into the future. They include:

  • Enhanced collaboration and communication between members of each team and across teams
  • Improved accuracy of project information through access to digital reporting and data validation tools
  • Consistency across documentation and improved clarity in data relationships
  • Risk reduction and protection against claims thanks to unassailable documentation

With wildfires in California becoming more frequent and intense, having easily referenceable historical records of project processes and outcomes will take on increased importance in the years to come.

While Fieldbook brings instant value to projects by providing real-time data during construction, QK and Fresno County will also benefit for years to come by having access to archived, well-organized data and reports covering each phase of post-disaster assessment, the creation of an aftermath action plan, and the installation of restoration and protection measures.


This project won multiple awards, including securing the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Engineering Project of the Year. The Creek Fire Erosion and Sediment Control project was recognized for its success in creating newly established BMPs for other cities and counties to follow. It created set protocols for planning and recovery in disaster areas that result in cost savings, salvaging the local environment, and efficient post-fire recovery tactics.

“At the time we began this priority project, I don’t believe any of us had an idea all this would take place. I just remember us getting our game faces on and rolling up our sleeves to help the County. This is such an awesome feeling and am so proud to be part of this amazing QK Team!”

– Andrea Pedraza, QSP of QK Engineers

Watch on-demand now to hear how engineering firms and departments of transportation are leveraging technology to enhance disaster preparedness and response efforts.

HeadLight is a visual-based inspection technology designed to provide high-quality data in real-time to all the stakeholders on a project. We believe that in today’s world, more data ultimately results in better projects and greater transparency. Find out more about how HeadLight can set your company apart from the competition and expand your field of vision regardless of the contracting method that’s chosen.