Willow Fire, 6/26/21, Day 10

Email: willowfirepio@gmail.com

Incident Information: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7549/ 

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

Los Padres National Forest: www.fs.usda.gov/pnf

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


Command: Los Padres National Forest, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and CIIMT 11

Additional Cooperating and Assisting Organizations: CAL Fire, California Highway Patrol, Big Sur Fire Department, Cachagua Fire Protection District, Bureau of Land Management, CalTrans, Monterey Office of Emergency Services (OES)

Start Date: 06/17/2021Location: Los Padres National Forest,Monterey County, CAResidences Threatened: 0         Residences Damaged: 0Mixed Commercial/Residential threatened: 0Size: 2,877 acresPercent containment: 32 %Cause: Under InvestigationResidences Destroyed: 0Personnel on the Incident: 337


Today is a weather transition day, with hotter and dryer air settling into the area through the weekend. The fire is not expected to increase in size during this time. Winds should remain moderate.

The last five days of favorable weather have significantly reduced the heat within the Willow Fire area and enabled firefighters to extinguish individual hot spots and remain prepared to assist in initial attack on any new fire starts. Contingency fire control lines (away from the fires edge) that were constructed earlier during the fire are now in the process of being stabilized conducting suppression repair. As this critical work continues, firefighting resources no longer needed to meet the fire suppression objectives are being slowly released back to their home units or being reassigned to other fires.


Forest Order Number 05-07-51-21-08 – WILLOW FIRE AREA, ROAD AND TRAIL CLOSURE.

This Order is in effect June 24, 2021 until July 23, 2021. The Forest Order may be viewed at Los Padres National Forest – Alerts & Notices (usda.gov)

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office remains in Unified Command with Los Padres National Forest and California Interagency Incident Management Team 11. There are no changes to the Evacuation Warning and Order areas.  Evacuation map: https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/administrative-office/office-of-emergency-services/response/2021-wildfires

Rat Creek Equipment helicoptered out

Date: Friday, June 25, 2021 District: 05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz CountiesContact:Kevin Drabinski or Jim ShiversPhone:(805) 549-3138 or (805) 549-3237 
MONTEREY COUNTY – Caltrans announced today that it had called in a heavy lift helicopter on Tuesday June 22, to remove tunneling equipment which had been instrumental in the installation a 10 ft. diameter, 1.25-inch-thick steel pipe culvert beneath the roadway. 
Late last week crews had successfully completed their tunneling operation from the east side of Rat Creek Canyon, through the fill underneath the roadway, and broke through where the culvert will outlet on the coast side of Highway 1.
This tunneling operation successfully installed the 10-foot diameter steel pipe culvert at a 30 percent slope and it will serve as the centerpiece of redundant drainage infrastructure at Rat Creek which will substantially improve water flow capacity during future storm events.
Papich Construction and Caltrans engineers determined that tunneling the main culvert instead of installing it during the fill construction would allow for the reopening of the roadway 4 to 6 weeks earlier than originally planned. The roadway was successfully reopened just 86 days after a late January storm event and associated debris flows severed this scenic stretch of coastal highway.
Once the tunneling machinery had performed its task, it was broken into two segments, each weighing some 25,000 pounds. The helicopter made two lifts and the equipment was placed on the side of the highway where it will be transported off site.
Highway 1 at Rat Creek will remain open as final construction work wraps up in late summer. Motorists can expect intermittent reversing lane closures with delays of up to 10 minutes through this still active construction zone.
Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway work zones.
For traffic updates on other state highways in Monterey County, travelers may contact Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805-549-3318 or can visit the District 5 website at: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-5
Image 1: Preflight safety meeting. 06.22.21Image 2: Helicopter carries 25,000 lbs. of tunneling equipment at Rat Creek 06.22.21Image 3: Helicopter against the clouds at Rat Creek 06.22.21