This week’s cooler weather has enabled firefighters to reach 26 percent containment of the Willow Fire, which began burning in Monterey County last week, federal, state and officials announced Friday.
After temperatures hit triple digits across much of the west coast last week, the much cooler first four days of this week significantly reduced the heat within the fire’s area, which has expanded only 29 acres from the 2,848 acres the fire had burned as of Tuesday.
The fire, which started in Los Padres National Forest, has tempered to the extent that U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire officials have begun to return some firefighting resources to their home units or to other fires.
Just over 400 personnel remain on hand to quell the fire, down from the roughly 500 that were on site earlier this week. In addition, the fire is no longer threatening structures or residences.
With temperatures expected to tick back up this weekend, fire officials said that firefighters will be able to identify and focus on remaining hot spots within the fire area. Despite the higher temperatures, low forecasted winds mean the fire is not expected to significantly increase, fire officials said.
In response to the fire’s modest containment, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office lifted evacuation warnings or downgraded orders to warnings in much of the area surrounding Los Padres National Forest.
An evacuation order remains in effect only in the area west of Santa Lucia Creek, east of Black Cone Peak, north of the Dolan Fire scar and south of the Tassajara Hot Springs. Road and trail closures ordered by the U.S. Forest Service remain in effect within the fire area.
Updated evacuation and closure information can be found at fs.usda.gov.
Source: NBC Bay Area