Good Weather Aids Firefighters on California’s Coastal Range

The Willow Fire is 13% contained


Firefighter performs maintenance on chainsaw. (InciWeb photo)


BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — An influx of moist and cool ocean air was helping to suppress a forest fire burning in California coastal mountains near a remote Buddhist monastery south of Big Sur.

The Willow Fire grew minimally Tuesday and was still under 4.5 square miles (11.6 square kilometers). Firefighters took advantage of the favorable weather to continue improving their lines, Los Padres National Forest said.

Improved conditions were expected to continue through Wednesday.

InciWeb: Willow Fire Updates

The fire is a threat to about 125 homes and other buildings including the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

Seven firefighting monks have been clearing brush and running a sprinkler system dubbed “Dharma rain,” which helps keep a layer of moisture around the buildings, said Sozan Miglioli, president of San Francisco Zen Center, which operates the monastery.

“The blaze is about a mile away but we’ve been lucky with the weather, it has really cooled down,” Miglioli said Tuesday.

In the Sierra Nevada, a wildfire in the Whitney Portal area was calm overnight after growing to more than 600 acres (243 hectares) but winds were a concern Wednesday, the Inyo National Forest said.

Whitney Portal is a major stepping off point for hikers climbing Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States.

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