Hundreds of homes including the iconic Hearst Castle State Park in San Simeon remain threatened by the Chimney Fire burning in northern San Luis Obispo County.
The Chimney Fire is burning around the western portion of Lake Nacimiento and north toward San Antonio Lake and the southern Monterey County line.
The area where the fire is burning is extremely remote with very little road access and plenty of dry, drought-parched vegetation.
“The fire is only 35 percent contained” says Calfire spokesperson Diley Greiser, “it is growing, due to the wind, the topography and the fact that we have a drought for five years.”
Evacuation orders have been issued for all residential areas in the path of the wildfire that has so far destroyed more than 50 homes and buildings since it started on Saturday afternoon, August 13.
“If you live up here where the black dots are, you definitely need to get your evacuation bag ready, and you need to leave”, Greiser says, “we’ve already evacuated this area, so if you are still there, you need to pack your bags, you need to get your pets, you need to get your medicine and the things you are going to need for the next couple of days and you need to evacuate.”
While Hearst Castle remains threatened with all public tours cancelled for the rest of the week, the fire is moving north away from the popular tourist destination and San Simeon.
Hundreds of people are expected to heed the expanded evacuation orders with some having no other option but to stay in the Red Cross emergency shelter at Flamson School in Paso Robles.
“I want to assure the public that we are doing everything that we can to fight this fire”, Calfire spokesperson Diley Greiser says, “we’re not just fighting this fire with strategy, we’re fighting this fire with our hearts.”