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Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name: Willow, Big Sur
  • State: CA
  • Lead Agency: LPF
  • Size (acres): 2,877
  • Percent Contained: 87%
  • Estimate of Containment: July 11, 2021
  • Personnel: 79
  • Structures Destroyed: 0

Willow, Los Padres NF, USFS. Fifteen miles southeast of Big Sur, CA. Chaparral, brush and tall grass. Minimal fire behavior with smoldering. Structures threatened. Area, road and trail closures in effect.

June 30, 2021 at 7:48 AM

Small isolated islands within the fire perimeter continue to hold small pockets of smoldering and creeping fire. Crews will continue to access the fire perimeter cold trailing and improving direct control lines.

June 27, 2021 at 10:10 AM

The weather is expected to be hotter and dryer through the remainder of the weekend. Winds should remain moderate, and the fire is not expected to increase in size during this time.

Firefighters continue to extinguish individual hot spots and remain prepared to assist in initial attack on any new fire starts. Suppression repair continues along the contingency fire control lines (away from the fire’s edge) that were constructed earlier during the fire. Suppression repair consists of actions taken to repair damages and minimize potential soil erosion and impacts resulting from fire suppression activities. As this critical work continues, firefighting resources no longer needed to meet the fire suppression objectives are being slowly released back to their home units or being reassigned to other fires.

EVACUATIONS AND CLOSURES:

Forest Order Number 05-07-51-21-08 – WILLOW FIRE AREA, ROAD AND TRAIL CLOSURE.

This Order is in effect June 24, 2021 until July 23, 2021. The Forest Order may be viewed at Los Padres National Forest – Alerts & Notices (usda.gov)

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office remains in Unified Command with Los Padres National Forest and California Interagency Incident Management Team 11. There are no changes to the Evacuation Warning and Order areas.  Evacuation map: https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/administrative-office/office-of-emergency-services/response/2021-wildfires

June 25, 2021 at 7:39 AM

For the next 24 hours, no fire growth is expected over night and only minimal interior consumption can be expected. Fire will continue to burn primarily within the footprint of the fire with minimal activity. No significant growth is expected. Fri: Temp: H86-92 L66-72, RH: H48-54%. L18-23%, Wind: Terrain/S/SW 4-8 G20mph

Evacuation orders were lifted and replaced with evacuation warnings for those areas that are repopulating. The warnings will remain in place in case the fire was to become active again. Initial evacuation warnings outside of the evacuation orders have been completely lifted. Nearly inaccessible wilderness with few roads, heavy fuels and few natural control features are proving to be very challenging for fire resources to implement a safe plan of work. Terrain is very steep and hard for ground resources to access. In these situation, aviation will be utilized heavily as lookouts, crew shuttles and direct fire suppression. Many areas of poor-to-no radio communication exist in the Ventana Wilderness and surrounding areas. Rolling material remains a threat to control lines because of the steepness of terrain. Crews will continue to improve direct control lines to prevent the risk of fire spread and minimize any fire growth. The expectation is that as direct suppression continues to be effective with hand crews that the resources ordered to implement a large indirect operation will be demobilized in support of other incidents. The incident was able to demobilize 2 water tenders,3-T2 Dozers and 2-Masticators as excess and available for reassignment.

June 23, 2021 at 12:06 PM

Yesterday, firefighters took advantage of the continued favorable weather conditions and moderate fire behavior to prepare contingency lines along old fire control lines and adjacent roads east of the fire area. Crews also completed most of the community, residential and recreation infrastructure protection in the Tassajara and Arroyo Seco areas to the north and east of the fire area.

Forecasted weather and predicted fire behavior allowed firefighters to begin constructing direct control lines where it is safe to do so. Direct control lines are constructed along the fires edge leaving no unburned fuel between the fire and the control line. This is sometimes referred to as “one foot in the black.”

Today, crews are tasked with extending direct control lines along the fire’s edge and increasing offensive actions consistent with the moderating weather and minimal fire activity utilizing Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST). MIST employs the minimum amount of forces necessary to achieve the protection objectives consistent with the land and resource management objectives and resources at risk.

WEATHER

A low-pressure system off the coast will continue to provide favorable weather conditions over the fire area for another day or so, shifting winds to the northwest as the system moves onshore. Resulting cooler temperatures and an increase in relative humidity has significantly reduced the detectable heat within the fire area. The fire is not expected to significantly increase in size during this time. A developing high-pressure system off the Pacific Northwest coast will bring warmer and dryer conditions at the end of the week and into the weekend.

EVACUATIONS AND CLOSURES:

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office remains in Unified Command with Los Padres National Forest and California Interagency Incident Management Team 11. There are no changes to the Evacuation Warning and Order areas.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Order for the following areas:

  • Tassajara Road northwest to China Camp Campground in the Los Padres National Forest, including tributary Forest Routes and the Tassajara Zen Center.
  • Upgraded the Evacuation Warning to an Order for Zone WF-3a. All areas of the Arroyo Seco Road west of Woodtick Canyon, to include the Arroyo Seco Campground, Rocky Creek Road, Camp Cawatre.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Warning for the following area:

  • Tassajara Road from China Camp Campground in the Los Padres National Forest northwest to Kincannon Canyon. The Warning stops at the Los Padres National Forest boundary. This does not include Kincannon Road or tributaries of Jamesburg or Cachagua Road.

June 22, 2021 at 11:28 AM

Moderating fire conditions across the fire area were experienced by firefighters yesterday under the influence of the marine layer’s higher relative humidity. Community, residential and recreation infrastructure protection and scouting of contingency lines were the highest priority work objectives for firefighters.

Today, firefighters will take advantage of the continued moderated fire behavior to construct direct control lines along the fire’s edge where it is safe to do so. Contingency lines will continue to be improved in front of the eastern edge of the fire to protect the Arroyo Seco area.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office remains in Unified Command with Los Padres National Forest and California Interagency Incident Management Team 11. The sheriff’s office has issued Evacuation Warnings and Orders for the fire area.

June 21, 2021 at 2:01 PM

As of 7:00 a.m., the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has gone into Unified Command with Los Padres National Forest and California Interagency Incident Management Team 11. The sheriff’s office has issued Evacuation Warnings and Orders for the fire area.

Hot temperatures combined with windy conditions and low humidity made for opportune conditions for the fire to spread yesterday afternoon. The fire burned through the night with moderate intensity moving about a mile to the east. Moderate to active fire behavior is expected toward Arroyo Seco, as well as northerly and southerly spread due to slope runs. Firefighters on the ground are making a strong effort to stop further spread to the north and west flank of the fire line with the assistance of air support.

Crews are continuing to prepare for structure defense in the Tassajara Zen Center and the Arroyo Seco campground area. They have been scouting ridges where previous fire control lines were built to possibly utilize them again.

Weather

Firefighters are going to take advantage of cooler temperatures and an increase in relative humidity expected today. Low humidity and gusty afternoon ridgetop winds from the south/southeast, however, may occur. Heavy smoke may be more visible in the area. A general cooling trend is expected through Wednesday which could help slow the rate of spread as ground fuels will not be quite as hot and dry. Winds from the south and southwest will continue to influence the fire’s spread to the east and northwest toward Arroyo Seco.

Evacuations and Closures:

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Order for the following areas:
• Tassajara Road from China Camp Campground to the Tassajara Zen Center in Los Padres National Forest, including tributary Forest Routes.
• Upgraded the Evacuation Warning to an Order for Zone WF-3a. All areas of the Arroyo Seco Road west of Woodtick Canyon, to include the Arroyo Seco Campground, Rocky Creek Road, Camp Cawatre.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Warning for the following area:
• Tassajara Road from China Camp Campground in the Los Padres National Forest northwest to Kincannon Canyon. The Warning stops at the Los Padres National Forest boundary. This does not include Kincannon Road or tributaries of Jamesburg or Cachagua Road.

June 20, 2021 at 12:14 PM

Last night there was minimal fire growth due to the increased humidity. Hand crews were able to put handlines in front of the fire in the Arroyo Seco area.

This morning California Interagency Incident Management Team 11 (CIIMT-11) took over management of the Willow Fire incident. Team 11 has been briefed in all areas of the incident and is prepared to work toward the goal of containment.

The fire is difficult for firefighters to access due to steep terrain and safety concerns. There are evacuations in place in areas where structures are threatened. These structures include historical sites, cabins, ranches, and private residences. Areas affected include Arroyo Seco Recreational Area, Tassajara Hot Springs and the Ventana Wilderness. Other concerns are endangered species and cultural sites. Los Padres National Forest Resource Advisors will be working with Chumash Tribal members, biologists and botanists to identify sensitive areas.

Weather

Although there was moisture recovery overnight fuels remain critically dry. These dry fuels create a receptive environment for fire spread. Temperatures are expected to cool over the next few days. Light terrain driven winds are expected.

Evacuations and Closures:

  • Evacuation warning for areas north of Arroyo Seco Campground to Anastasia Canyon; west of Carmel Valley Road and east of Tassajara road.
  • Tassajara Hot Springs
  • Arroyo Seco Recreation Area is closed.

June 20, 2021 at 9:07 AM

Moving to indirect strategy, establish a base camp in King City, transition from Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) to a Type II IMT at 0600 on 6/20/21. Reinforce Dolan Fire of 2020 hand and dozer line for potential back firing operations.

Fire is holding within the perimeter. Multiple Divisions are reinforcing existing line construction and dozer lines from the Dolan Fire of 2020. Retardant lines held well during the day minimizing growth and is expected to continue through the evening.

June 18, 2021 at 11:47 PM

The Willow Fire started at 8:10pm on Thursday, June 17, 2021. The fire is approximately 2,000 acres and is currently burning in the Ventana Wilderness NW of the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area close to the Tassajara Zen Center and Hot Springs. Spotting and runs are expected to increase the growth of the fire. There are approximately 337 firefighters on the ground including 5 Type I Interagency Hotshot crews assigned to the fire.

Air support including fixed-wing air tankers and water-dropping helicopters are assisting crews on the ground. The fire is burning in steep, rugged and brushy terrain that is accessible only by hiking in.

Weather conditions are hot and dry with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees with low humidity levels. Winds out of the southwest are 5-10 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. Arroyo Seco Recreation Area is closed. Tassajara Road is closed from the Tassajara Zen Center to China Camp. Residents have been evacuated from Tassajara Zen Center to China Camp. Evacuation warning for areas north of Arroyo Seco Campground to Anastasia Canyon; west of Carmel Valley Rd, and east of Tassajara Rd.

Fire is expected to be active throughout the evening with spotting and runs in steep terrain. Winds from the west are pushing the fire towards the Tassajara Zen Center and Hot Springs, Miller Canyon, Chews Ridge Lookout and Mira Observatory.

June 18, 2021 at 12:25 PM

Monterey County OES: EVACUATION INFO FOR #WILLOWFIRE Zone WF-1 is under Evacuation Order – Leave Immediately. Zones WF-2 & WF-3 are under Evacuation Warnings – Prepare to evacuate and leave now if you require additional time or assistance evacuating. View the evacuation map: bit.ly/3gFEpvw

Evac Warning Zone WF- 3

Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Warning for Arroyo Seco Rd from Millers Ranch at the Carmel Valley Rd junction west to the Arroyo Seco Campground.

Evac Warning Zone WF -2

Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Warning for Tassajara Rd from China Camp Campground in the Los Padres National Forest northwest to Kincannon Canyon. The Warning stops at the Los Padres National Forest boundary. This does not include Kincannon Rd or tributaries of Jamesburg or Cachagua Rd. #WillowFire