NORTH FORK – One of the big challenges of battling the Willow Fire, in addition to some nearly vertical granite walls, is the heavy regrowth of dense brush and the number dangerous snags left behind after the 2001 North Fork Fire. Over 4,000 acres burned in that fire along the Willow Creek drainage and across the face of Peckinpah Mountain.
Burt Stalter, Fuels Management Specialist and Battalion Chief on the Bass Lake Ranger District, has been working in Division M of the Willow Fire since it blew up on Saturday.
Burt shared photos of the fire behavior last night when it hit the North Fork Fire burn scar. Division M is the north and east perimeter of the fire on Peckinpah Mountain. There was no salvage logging done in this area, and dense brush, coupled with standing dead trees, made for a very active fire.
“This is pretty impressive fire behavior for nighttime burning conditions,” says Stalter.
He also notes that in another area, they were able to fire off the road and hold it last night because the fuels were lighter in that area, which was salvage logged following the 2001 fire. The logged areas also presented minimal aerial hazards from standing snags that would endanger firefighters during this operation.