Big Sur Willow Fire Roars To 2,000 Acres, Completely Uncontained

A wildfire in the Los Padres National Forest near Big Sur has roared to 2,000 acres and is zero percent contained.

The raging blaze has forced the evacuation of a campground in the national forest and some 300 people from the well-known Tassajara Zen Center.

The fire erupted Thursday night in the Ventana Wilderness section of the national forest south of Monterey, according to the incident report of the U.S. Forest Service. It surged through parched chaparral, grass and scrub on steep slopes in record temperatures and an unending drought. Aircraft are dropping water and fire retardant to aid firefighters battling the blaze amid difficult terrain. 

Though the zen center has been largely evacuated, no buildings were burned. Members of the center’s fire crew stayed behind, prepared to battle the fire with its sprinkler system — which it calls “Dharma rain.”

“Our water supplies are good and we are well prepared for this situation,” said Sozan Miglioli, president of San Francisco Zen Center, which operates the Tassajara monastery.

“Tassajara has been working on special fire prep projects during the pandemic shutdown, and the fire crew has been in place and training for several months. Right now there are four engines at Tassajara (two from CalFire and two from the Forest Service). They are helping our Fire Team to prep,” Miglioli added in a statement.

The blaze was moving closer to the center Saturday night.




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