Willow Fire scorches more than 1,500 acres near Bass Lake

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Crews are working to prevent the Willow Fire from growing in Madera County. The fire is still at 5 percent containment and has burned more than 1,500 acres.




PHOTOS: Wildfire burns near Bass Lake

The Willow Fire's plume of thick smoke has billowed across the Sierra and down into the Valley. By Monday evening, firefighters were being briefed on the late night plans. Fewer crews will be on assignment overnight, digging containment lines.

"But really suppressing the fire so it hopefully won't grow outside of those lines that we have set right now," Willow Fire spokesman Sean Collins said.

Collins adds that it's too early to clearly predict the fire's behavior, but temperatures are expected to rise by late week.

The plan of attack of course depends on weather conditions and if fire crews can get back up in the air. Critical water drops began in the afternoon Monday. Weather conditions suppressed the smoke in the morning, giving the air crews a late start.

"At night we tend to get really busy on the ground. During the day we stand off a little bit, allow the air to come in, put water there and then follow up after them and pick it up. That's how our containment lines grow," Collins said.

Firefighters from all over the state are still arriving to the mountains in Madera County to help control this fire.

Video courtesy of John-Mark Brix

The views are certainly stunning, but firefighters caution everyone trying to record video or snap pictures to stay out of the way of first responders.

"Be careful going around corners. Keep your speeds lower than you would normally in the fire area," Collins said.

The Red Cross has set up to help people evacuated from their homes. Fortunately, the need right now isn't too great.

As high pressure builds in midweek, conditions are expected to change for this wildfire -- potentially helping it grow and pushing more smoke into the Valley.

Overnight, crews will use infrared cameras flying over the fire to narrow down the hottest and coolest parts of the burn area to see where to concentrate their efforts in the morning. This will also give a more accurate reading on the size of this wildfire.

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