County of Marin - News Releases - Woodward Fire

For Immediate Release
August 20, 2020

Woodward Fire Continues to Burn in West Marin

Blaze reaches 2,000 acres west of Olema, north of Bolinas

San Rafael, CA – The Woodward Fire, located in the Point Reyes National Seashore, has burned about 2,000 acres of dense vegetation in a sparsely populated area of coastal Marin County since it started August 18 and is 0% contained as of 5:30 p.m. on August 20. No injuries have been reported and no structures have been damaged.

The fire, caused by lightning, has sent smoke plumes throughout Marin and San Francisco counties, partly leading to a Spare the Air Alert issued August 20 by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The fire continues to burn south of Limantour Road, north of the Bear Valley Trail, and west of Shoreline Highway (State Route 1). The area is steep with limited access on foot, causing challenges for firefighters. With resources strained in the state due to the large number of fires burning, aerial resources were not available until the afternoon of August 20. Previous resource requests were unfilled as aircraft was dispatched to other priority fires with imminent life and safety threats.

The North Bay Incident Management Team is managing the fire. On August 19, the National Park Service made the request for a federal incident management team for assistance in leading the wildfire response. Northern Rockies Team 2, a Type 1 national incident management team (IMT) is mobilizing to the fire.  A Type 1 team is the most robust IMT with the most training and experience, dispatched during complex emergency incidents to manage operational, logistical, informational, planning, fiscal, and safety issues. The IMT members hold specific qualifications and are from local, state, and federal organizations.

An evacuation warning continues to be effect for 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. The County of Marin has prepared contingency plans to open a shelter if evacuation orders become necessary.

The Woodward Fire was first reported at 2:27 p.m. August 18 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. The cause of fire was determined to be lightning.

Personnel from Marin County Fire and National Park Service responded and closed trails and hiking camps nearby. Visitors and West Marin residents are urged to stay off roadways to allow for easier travel for firefighting personnel.

Ongoing updates about the Woodward fire can be accessed from the Marin County Fire Department Information Hotline at (415) 473-7191 and on the department’s Twitter feed.


Brenton Schneider
Marin County Sheriff's Office

1600 Los Gamos Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
Email: Brenton Schneider
Sheriff-Coroner website