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Monterey County lifts, modifies Willow Fire evacuation warnings and orders

Firefighters maneuver down steep terrain Monday to help battle the Willow Fire, burning southeast of Big Sur in the Los Padres National Forest. (Photo courtesy of USFS)

BIG SUR — Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has lifted and modified evacuation warnings and orders for the Willow Fire, effective 5 p.m. Thursday.

The wildfire, located southeast of Big Sur in Los Padres National Forest’s Ventana Wilderness, has burned at least 2,877 acres and is currently 26% contained.

Fire crews worked overnight to continue building direct control lines and increasing fire containment, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Evacuation Order Remaining in Effect:

  • Zone WF-6: West of Santa Lucia Creek, east of Black Cone Peak, north of the Dolan Fire scar, and south of the Tassajara Hot Springs.

Evacuation Warnings Lifted:

  • Zone WF-2: Tassajara Road from China Camp Campground in the Los Padres National Forest northwest to Kincannon Canyon.
  • Zone WF-3b: Areas east of Woodtick Canyon on Arroyo Seco Road to Millers Ranch at the Carmel Valley Road junction.
  • Zone WF-4: Areas north of Arroyo Secco Campground to Anastasia Canyon; west of Carmel Valley Road, and East of Tassajara Road.

Evacuation Orders Downgraded to Warnings:

  • Zone WF-1: Tassajara Road from the Zen Center northwest to China Camp Campground in the Los Padres National Forest, includes tributary Forest Routes and the Tassajara Zen Center.
  • Zone WF-3a: All areas of Arroyo Secco Road west of Woodtick Canyon, to include the Arroyo Seco Campground, Rocky Creek Road, Camp Cawatre.

“Zones WF-1 and WF-3a should remain vigilant and be prepared to leave again if officials tell you to or you feel that your safety is threatened,” according to a news release from the Monterey County Health Department.

All road closures around the Willow Fire have been removed, as of Friday afternoon. Those locations include:

  • Arroyo Seco and Carmel Valley Road;
  • Carmel Valley Road at Tassajara; and
  • Tassajara at Cachagua Road.

The evacuation changes do not include the Willow Fire area that is under closure order per Forest Order 05-01-51-21-08, per the Monterey Ranger District.

“As residents return, smoke may be seen from inside the fire perimeter. Firefighters will still be working in the area and monitoring,” the news release stated. “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.”