NORTH FORK – Firefighters got a break over the last 24 hours with cloud cover, higher humidity recovery and even a very small amount of rain overnight.
The Willow Fire is now estimated at 4,394 acres with 30 percent containment. Resources continue to roll in to the Incident Command Post, boosting the number of personnel assigned to the incident to 1,920.
Firing operations were successful on the night shift, as crews continue to burn out fuels from control lines on the southeastern flank of the fire east of Peckinpah Mountain.
The line to the northeast of Peckinpah Meadow was fired night before last, and crews held that line. They fired the rest of that section last night, and planners say it “blew in perfectly,” there were no spot fires outside the control line, and they achieved their objective – which is burning out vegetation a good distance inside the line toward the leading edge of the fire.
On the southeast section near Cascadel Woods, firing operations continue at this moment, and planners report that the fire didn’t run across the slope the way it did over the previous two nights. The .01 inches of rain that fell there was a welcome event, and didn’t adversely affect the burn.
The western flank of the fire is in mop-up status as it has been for the past few days, and there was no fire activity there overnight.
On the northern perimeter, two miles south of Central Camp, crews continued to build direct line and hold what was done during the day shift.
There was a bit of heat on the upper portion of the eastern flank, and firefighters will be working today to ensure those spots are handled.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered at 8 a.m. yesterday, July 30, for residents of Cascadel Road (Road 233) and Douglas Ranger Station Road. Crews continue their structure protection work along both of those roads.
Cascadel Road is closed at Road 225, and Douglas Ranger Station Road is closed just past the entrance to the Incident Command Post. Gentle Way and Willow Canyon Drive also remain closed, along with Central Camp Road between Road 274 and Beasore.
No serious injuries have been reported, and no structures have been lost.
The American Red Cross of the Central Valley has opened a shelter to assist residents affected by the ongoing Willow Fire at the Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Road 425B.
Red Cross volunteers will provide lodging, meals, hygiene kits and more for the evacuated families. The Central California Animal Disaster Team will be on scene to care for pets.
The Willow Fire started on Saturday, July 25, at about 2 p.m., and is burning just east of the south shore of Bass Lake, and about three miles north of North Fork, Calif. It was started by a juvenile playing with a lighter.
Cooperating agencies include Cal Fire, Madera County Fire, CHP, Madera County Sheriff’s Office, PG&E, the American Red Cross, California Office of Emergency Services, the California Conservation Corp, and the Mono Rancheria of Mono Indians.