News

Willow Fire update - morning of July 29

Approximate Location

37.282 latitude, -119.502 longitude

Incident Overview

The Willow Fire is located on the northern edge of the North Fork Fire Footprint from 2001 and is in steep and rugged terrain. This requires hand crews to hike into the area and be supported by helicopters and air tankers. As the fire continues to move into this previously burned area, the resistance to control along the flanks increase. This is due to the concentrations of brush and larger dead timber debris, intermingled with a concentration of tree snags.

Firefighting strategy on the southern flank continues be direct. Crews work directly on the fires edge where safe to do so to prevent the fire from moving further south towards the communities of South Fork and Cascadel Woods. Further south a contingency line from the 2001 North Fork Fire is being opened up and utilized in the same manner to protect those communities.

Fire crews continue to build direct lines on the north flank in an attempt to tie in to the road system at the top of the ridge on the east side of the fire. Previously constructed fuel breaks on the northern edge are being scouted with a potential to use this as another contingency line.

The use of aircraft, both helicopters and tankers continue to be used to support ground crews in their efforts of direct attack. A portable retardant plant will be utilized to enhance the effectiveness of air resources and reduce the turnaround time of helicopters.

Today the expected high pressure system has moved into the area bringing much warmer temperatures to the fire area. Monsoonal moisture may produce dry thunderstorms Thursday turning wet Friday and Saturday.

As the Willow Fire continues to burn, smoke will be impacting local communities. Smoke is typically greater in the morning and evening hours. Plan outdoor activities for times and places with low smoke levels. Up-slope breezes occur during the day, which will often take smoke into higher elevations. In the evening, these winds change direction and bring smoke back down slope to lower elevations.

A Willow Fire information phone number has been established for further information about the fire. That number is (559) 877-7449.

Evacuations

- The Central Camp area and Douglas Station Rd from Trails End was evacuated due to the fire.

- The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center and is located at the Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Road 425 B in Oakhurst, CA.

Closures

Campgrounds - Gagges, Whiskers, and Whiskey Falls are closed.

Willow Canyon Rd and Douglas Station Rd are closed at Hwy 274. Beasore Rd is closed at Central Camp Rd. Autumn Ridge Rd is closed at Hwy 223. Douglas Station Rd is closed at Trails End.



Equipment



Engines 120

Hand Crews 32

Dozers 14

Water Tenders 21 

Helicopters 9

Tankers available on request 4

Basic Information

Current as of: 7/29/2015, 8:30 a.m.

Incident Type: Wildfire

Cause: Human

Date of Origin:Saturday July 25th, 2015 approx. 02:30 PM

Location: NE of North Fork, CA

Incident Commander:David Cooper SCSIIMT

Incident Description:Wildfire

Current SituationTotal Personnel: 1,487

Size: 2,077 Acres

Percent of Perimeter Contained: 30%

Fuels Involved: Timber, Chaparral, Tall grass.

Outlook

Planned Actions

Fire crews will continue to build containment lines on all sides of the fire using direct and indirect strategies. The fire is in steep and rugged terrain, which requires hand crews hiking in and being supported by helicopters and air tankers. Crew will begin mop up where safe to do so.

Remarks

The Willow Fire is located on the northern edge of the 2001 footprint of the North Fork Fire. As the fire moves into this previously burned area, resistance to control increases due to heavy brush and dead woody materials.

Firefighting strategy includes both direct and indirect approaches. Aircraft are being utilized to keep the southern flank in check to support crews with direct attack of the fire. A portable retardant plant will be used beginning today which will reduce the time taken to to return to the firelines.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

The high pressure ridge is in place over the region which is bringing much warmer temperatures to the fire area. Localized down canyon winds in the Willow Creek Drainage may push the fire at night. Anticipated monsoonal moisture may produce dry thunderstorms beginning Thursday turning wet Friday and Saturday

-- Sierra National Forest

Cause of Willow Fire Identified

Incident: Willow Fire Wildfire

Released: 20 hrs. ago

Willow Fire: Tuesday July 28th 2015,

Today, United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Investigators have identified the cause of the Willow Fire on the Sierra National Forest started July 25th 2015 to be human caused.

USFS Law Enforcement Officers working in conjunction with the Madera County District Attorney’s Office have identified a juvenile suspect in relation to the cause of the fire.

District Attorney David Linn said “We will continue working with USFS Investigators throughout the judicial process”

Further information regarding the cause or identification will be made available if, or when any charges are brought forward.

For further information contact the Madera District Attorney’s Office at (559) 675-7726

David.linn@co.madera.ca.gov

ccwheeler@fs.fed.us

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