Firefighters clear vegetation in steep terrain on June 22 for the Willow Fire. (USFS/Contributed)

BIG SUR — Containment on the Willow Fire has increased substantially over the past week, as firefighters continue working around the clock to improve direct control lines and extinguish individual hot spots.

The wildfire, located southeast of Big Sur in the Ventana Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest, has burned 2,877 acres and is currently 73% contained. The fire is “not expected to increase in size,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.

“Suppression repair continues along the contingency fire control lines (away from the fire’s edge) that were constructed earlier during the fire,” the Forest Service reported in an incident overview Monday. “Suppression repair consists of actions taken to repair damages and minimize potential soil erosion and impacts resulting from fire suppression activities. 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.”

Effective Monday at 6 p.m., Monterey County Sheriff’s Office will lift all the evacuation warnings and orders for the Willow Fire, with the exception of forest areas under closure order per the Monterey Ranger District.

All road closures around the wildfire were removed on Friday. Those locations included Arroyo Seco and Carmel Valley Road; Carmel Valley Road at Tassajara; and Tassajara at Cachagua Road.

“As residents return, smoke may be seen from inside the fire perimeter. Firefighters will still be working in the area and monitoring,” according to a county news release. “Please be aware of your surroundings and changing conditions. If you see a fire or have an emergency, call 911. Narrow country roads are still being utilized for response purposes, please drive cautiously as crews will continue to work in the area.”

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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