Woodward Fire in Marin County remains in control lines with little growth; still 5 percent contained

FILE - A plane drops flame retardant on the Woodward Fire burning at Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County. 08/2020

The Woodward Fire was quiet Wednesday morning and caused no new concerns for firefighters, allowing them to gain positive ground, but not enough to increase the containment level.

The blaze, which has been burning at Point Reyes National Seashore for nine days now, remained within the control lines for the past 24 hours, officials said in a briefing Wednesday. It has now burned just over 2,700 acres and is five percent contained. 

The smoke in the air and the thick marine layer, despite grounding aircraft until the afternoon, helped aid fire fight on Tuesday, according to Brandon Cichowski, operation section chief for Northern Rockies Incident Management team two. 

“The combination of the two and some stability in the atmosphere really kept the cap based on the fire behavior,” he said. “It didn’t allow the fire behavior to increase very much.”

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The break meant limited fire activity in a trouble spot which allowed them to get in there with bulldozers and build some fire break lines.

The work crews did in the area behind the visitor center, where earlier in the week flames reached Bear Valley Trail, is also holding up well. 

Like Tuesday's briefing, officials said they’re still not comfortable adding to the containment percentage. 

“The fire is very squirrely, there are all kinds of [fire] edges out there,” Cichowski said, noting that he felt crews would be very productive on Wednesday.

The National Park Service has closed Point Reyes National Seashore until further notice.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for Silver Hills Road, Fox Drive, and Noren Way south of Inverness Park. 

Evacuation warnings are in present for the east side of Highway 1 to Olema Hill in Olema; all areas west of Shoreline Highway between Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Olema south to Bolinas; west of Highway 1 and Sir Francis Drake Blvd to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, including the communities of Olema, Inverness, Inverness Park, and Sea Haven; and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, continuing to the Bolinas Ridge Fire Road and the McCurdy Trail.

“We are constantly in conversions about warnings and whether to lift warnings or orders and whether to reduce those,” Brenton Schneider with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. “But we won’t make that determination until we have considered everything that could happen to the fire and we’re comfortable it won’t happen.”

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