Fire Monks

It has been 13 years since Tassajara faced a fire like it has faced again with the Willow Fire. I thought it was time to remind people of their story. It happened in 2008 and they defended the Zen Center when everyone else had pulled out. This year, both the USFS and Cal Fire stayed with them. In 2008, they were abandoned. And this year, they weren’t five. They were ten. It is an unbelievable story told well. You can find it in this book available on Amazon:

Willow Fire, 6/20/21, Day 4, Happy Father’s Day!

Not looking good this afternoon. Two distinct heads. WillowFire Current Aircraft, 1 AA, 1 Lead, T-79, T-80, T-104, T-105, T-163, T-912, Chinook 949, Copter 109.

June 20 2:35 pm jet drop after jet drop. Wind consistent 15 -20 knots. Reference the photo below.

12:15 pm —

Willow Fire:  June 20, 2021 Update 

Incident Information: 

Social Media: Twitter: @LosPadresNF   Facebook: @Los Padres National Forest 

Los Padres National Forest:

Fire Information Phone: (831) 244-3205 Hours: 8am-9pm


Command: Los Padres National Forest and CIIMT 11

Additional Cooperating and Assisting Organizations: National Weather Service, Monterey Sherriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, CALFire, Big Sur Fire Department Cachagua Fire Protection District, Bureau of Land Management

Start Date: 06/17/2021Location: Los Padres National Forest,Monterey County, CA            Size: 2,080Percent containment: 0%Cause: Under Investigation 


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.


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. 


  • 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.

7:30 am — from John Chesnut:

Attached is an image that mashes up
1) Overnight IR airplane flight perimeter and heat detections2) Most recent VIIRS satellite heat detection footprints3) Dolan fire final Perimeter (red line to south)4) Sobranes (2016) fire final perimeter (green tint)
Note “North” is turned on the image to look up the axis of the Canyon.  Second image is identical data, just zoomed in (which looses the ocean reference, but shows more detail.

6 am — First to all the first responder dads out there, Happy Father’s Day! Please be safe out there.

Last night’s update was not posted until after 11 pm and I was in bed, so here it is:

Incident Information

Basic Information

Current as of6/19/2021, 11:05:14 PM
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginThursday June 17th, 2021 approx. 08:00 PM
LocationWillow Creek in the Ventana Wilderness NW of Arroyo Seco Recreation area close to the Tassajara Zen Center.
Incident CommanderIC Tony Zavalla – USFS
Incident DescriptionWildfire
Coordinates36.207 latitude, -121.56 longitude 

Current Situation

Total Personnel452
Size2,066 Acres
Fuels InvolvedSteep, rugged and brushy terrain. Chaparral 6 feet, tall grass 2.5 feet and brush 2 feet.
Significant EventsActive, backing, uphill runs and flanking


Planned ActionsMoving 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.
Projected Incident ActivityFire 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.

Current Weather

Weather ConcernsContinuing hot and dry weather conditions with increase in winds. Thermal belt exists in the Ventana Wilderness and causes fire activity to increase in the evening hours contributing to rapid fire growth. Relative humidity is limited and winds are expected to continue.