California's Willow Fire spreads to 2,000 acres as record drought, heat continue to grip state

The blaze, located in Los Padres National Forest near Monterey County’s Big Sur, began Thursday night shortly at 8:10 p.m. PT. 

NATIONAL WEATHER FORECAST: HEAT CONTINUES TO THREATEN WEST, TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ISSUED FOR GULF COAST

More than 300 firefighters from multiple agencies responded to fight the fire, fueled by chaparral, tall grass and brush and rugged and steep terrain.

In a tweet, the Los Padres National Forest’s U.S. Forest Service account said the Willow Fire was 0% contained as hot and dry weather and an increase in winds pushed the fire in the Ventana Wilderness towards the Arroyo Seco Recreation Area close to the Tassajara Zen Center and Hot Springs.

In a description of the incident, the Los Padres National Forest’s U.S. Forest Service said that spotting and runs were expected to increase the growth of the fire and detailed state and local response,

“There are approximately 337 firefighters on the ground including 5 Type I Interagency Hotshot crews assigned to the fire. Air support including fixed-wing air tankers and water-dropping helicopters are assisting crews on the ground,” the agency wrote, noting that temperatures around the fire had hovered around 100 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity levels and winds of 5 to 10 mph with gusts of up to 20 mph.

According to SFGate, the fire also emitted a large pyrocumulus cloud that rose up to 14,000 feet above ground level.

Video of the smoke plume was posted on the National Weather Service’s Bay Area Twitter account.

Residents in the surrounding area were reportedly evacuated to China Camp and evacuation warnings were issued for areas north of Arroyo Seco Campground to Anastasia Canyon, west of Carmel Valley Rd. and east of Tassajara Rd.

Road closures were also announced nearby. 

The cause of the fire remains unknown. 

California and much of the western U.S. are in the midst of both a sweltering heatwave and are threatened by a historic drought.

In this photo provided by Joseph Pacheco, a wildfire is seen burning in Globe, Ariz., on Monday, June 7, 2021. Firefighters in Arizona were fighting Tuesday to gain a foothold into a massive wildfire, one of two that has forced thousands of evacuations in rural towns and closed almost every major highway out of the area. (Joseph Pacheco via AP)

In this photo provided by Joseph Pacheco, a wildfire is seen burning in Globe, Ariz., on Monday, June 7, 2021. Firefighters in Arizona were fighting Tuesday to gain a foothold into a massive wildfire, one of two that has forced thousands of evacuations in rural towns and closed almost every major highway out of the area. (Joseph Pacheco via AP)

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