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USFS, Cal Fire face another day of battling Willow Fire with zero percent containment

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Cal Fire BEU

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) As the Willow Fire burns to over 2,000 acres, firefighters with Cal Fire and the US Forest Service are trying to get the upper hand on the flames that have destroyed a portion of the Los Padres National Forest.

Firefighters have one of their command centers at the Arroyo Seco Campgrounds and are briefing daily as to the progress of the fire, which currently stands at zero percent containment. Hand crews are still having access issues because of the difficult terrain.

The Texas Canyon Hotshots lined up on their mission to create an indirect line on Arroyo Seco in Los Padres National Forest. Their job consists of clearing a line free of vegetation in the hopes of stopping the fire at the fuel break, acting as an invisible barrier against the fire. But, what exactly is a hotshot hand crew?

Frank Plasencia, lead fire fighter for the Texas Canyon Hotshots said, "We make inaccessible areas accessible. We essentially can make many things happen in a particular fashion. The hotshots are typically the end of the spear in essentially getting accessibility to certain terrain."

The Los Padres National Fire Chief says the terrain, they're currently working at is very difficult for traditional fire trucks to access.

"It's extremely remote and rugged country so very hard to get to. So, getting access for ur troops, our hotshot crews is really difficult and really totally inaccessible for our firetrucks and engines," said Jimmy Harris.

The Texas Canyon Hotshots are working miles away from the actual edge of the fire at the Arroyo Seco campground. As Plasencia would say, they're working indirectly so that if the fire does reach the campground, the structures and people are safe from the fire with these indirect lines they're creating.

"We're creating fuel break, an indirect piece, an indirect handline to mitigate any brush, grass, hazard trees. If the fire were to make a run or essentially a big push, that would affect the community, it's less impacted, and hopefully not impacted at all," said Plasencia.

One of their primary focuses are to ensure the fire does not reach communities in Arroyo Seco and Tassajara.

Monterey County / Top Stories / Wildfires
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Stephanie Aceves

Stephanie Aceves is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Josh Kristianto

Josh Kristianto is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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