Update at 4:34 p.m.: CAL Fire Unit Chief Josh White is spreading accolades of the many agencies and individuals who he says helped bring a swift resolution to the Willow Fire.
As reported earlier today, firefighters reached containment on the 450-acre blaze that ignited Sunday afternoon and were able to determine the cause due to concerned citizens who acted quickly and capably in order to stop — and help save — the hapless driver who sparked the fire.
Chief White states, “Of note, residents in the Willow Creek subdivision benefited from their due diligence in performing defensible space work. This work allowed firefighters to protect these structures, and move on to other homes in need of protection. Their work also provided a safer environment for the firefighters.”
White adds that the interaction between the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office and CAL Fire allowed for evacuation notices to be sent out to citizens in a timely fashion. “Our partnership with the California Highway Patrol allowed CAL Fire investigators to obtain information on the suspect, ultimately leading to charges filed against her. We are grateful for our partnership with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol. We would also like to thank the many witnesses who came forward with information regarding the fire and vehicle sparking these fires. There are also citizens who went above and beyond their duty to stop the vehicle from continuing to spark additional fires.”
Original Post at 8:52 a.m.: San Andreas, CA — Four days after it ignited, CAL Fire reports that the Willow Fire in Calaveras County has reached full containment.
The fire ignited at 1:07pm this past Sunday near the intersection of Willow Creek Road and Mountain Ranch Road. We reported earlier that Rene Ilene Hogan was arrested in connection to starting the fire. The CHP reports that Hogan was driving her car eastbound on Mountain Ranch Road and it had a flat tire. Due to her intoxication, she did not realize that the rim hitting the pavement was causing several sparks that were igniting multiple fires. A witness pulled his vehicle in front of Hogan so that she would stop her car. She was then rescued by the witness from the vehicle as it ignited on fire.
At one point over 300 firefighters were assigned to the incident, and several aircraft. The forward rate of spread of the 450-acre blaze was stopped during the first evening.