San Rafael, CA – An evening wildfire burned at least 700 acres August 18 in a remote area of the Point Reyes National Seashore, sending smoke plumes throughout Marin and San Francisco counties. The Woodward Fire was at zero percent containment as of 9 p.m.
An evacuation warning was issued in coastal sections of West Marin, and an evacuation center was set up at West Marin School in Point Reyes Station. The warning was directed to residents living and visiting west of Shoreline Highway (State Route 1) between Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Olema south to Bolinas, a stretch of about 11.5 miles. The warning area is sparsely populated.
No structures were in the line of fire and no injuries were reported.
The smoke blew across central and southern Marin as strong northerly winds pushed the fire south at a moderate rate of spread, said Marin County Fire Department Battalion Chief Bret McTigue. The blaze was an estimated 200 acres by 7:30 p.m. but grew exponentially over the next hour as winds increased up to 40 mph, he said.
Nearby residents are urged to refrain from calling 9-1-1 to report the smell of smoke.
The fire was reported at 4:27 p.m. just south of the Woodward Trail, a few miles west of the Bear Valley Visitor Center in Olema and about one mile inland from Limantour Beach. It was initially called the 4-5 Fire and later changed to the Woodward Fire.
McTigue said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but lightning is suspected. An incident command center was established at the Bear Valley Visitors Center.
Personnel from Marin County Fire and National Park Service responded and closed trails and hiking camps nearby. Visitors and West Marin residents were urged to stay off roadways to allow for easier travel for firefighting personnel.
Updates on the fire are being made on the Marin County Fire Department Information Hotline at 415-473-7191 and on the department’s Twitter feed.
The Woodward Fire occurred one day after a 17-acre wildfire burned near Mount Barnabe on the west end of Marin’s San Geronimo Valley.