Firefighters contained the Willow Fire on Monday after making significant progress over the weekend.
As of Monday evening, the fire had burned 1,311 acres and was 100 percent contained. Cal Fire reported firefighters will continue to patrol the fire and mitigate any hot spots within the burn.
“The Willow Fire itself is pretty much done, though crews were still out there watching for any hot spots,” said Yuba County public information officer Russ Brown. “On our end, we are now working with the residents whose houses were destroyed to try and connect them with available resources to help them with the process and getting back to recovery.”
As of Monday, the Willow Fire had destroyed 41 structures (nine residences and 32 outbuildings) and damaged another 10 structures (four residences and six outbuildings).
Because of the progress that had been made over the weekend, the evacuation order for the areas along La Porte Road south of New York House Road had been lifted and Rackerby was opened. New York Flat Road and Challenge Cut Off Road were to remain closed due to the North Complex Fires.
Winds were expected to pick up on Monday. Brown said the conditions didn’t impact crews’ ability to address the Willow Fire, but it was of some concern regarding the fire threatening the northern part of the county.
Cal Fire stated crews fighting the North Complex Fire were successful in strengthening several existing containment lines, developing new containment lines and extinguishing several interior hot spots to prevent further spread over the weekend. Those efforts were continued into Monday as firefighters prepared areas that were expected to be impacted by the Red Flag Warning with southwest winds coming in over the area.
As of Monday afternoon, the North Complex Fire had burned approximately 264,374 acres and was 38 percent contained. The West Zone of the fire, which is the portion that threatens several communities in northern foothills of Yuba County, has burned 74,400 acres and was 20 percent contained.
“Reports indicate that Cal Fire is getting a good handle on the southern line of this fire in Butte County, the region of the fire threatening the Forbestown area. We hope this positive trend continues to the point that we can soon reconsider opening up more of the current evacuation areas in the lower La Porte Road corridor that has remained closed,” according to the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office around 11 a.m. on Monday.
Evacuation orders for the North Complex Fires are still in place for Yuba Zone 1 (area east of New York Flat Road, south of the county line, west of LaPorte Road, and north of LaPorte Road), Yuba Zone 2 (areas west of Bullards Bar Lake, east of La Porte Road, south of the county line, and north Bullard Bar Road and Fountainhouse Road), and Yuba Zone 3C (areas north of Caroline Road, south of the county line, east of New York Flat Road, and areas east of Forbestown Road). Communities north and east of Brownsville to the county border remain under evacuation orders as well, including Challenge, Forbestown, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills, and Strawberry Valley.
Brown said residents living near those communities should remain vigilant in case the situation changes and evacuations orders are updated. Those not already signed up for emergency alerts through the county are encouraged to sign up for the CodeRed system at www.BePreparedYuba.org.