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33,000 Acre Chimney Fire Burns Near Hearst Castle

The fire is only 20% contained, burning between San Luis Obispo and Monterey County


August 25, 2016

A water dropping helicopter flies past Hearst Castle in this AP Photo shot Monday

The fire was first reported Saturday August 13 shortly after 4:00 p.m. Evacuations were ordered in the area of Running Deer Ranch, located on the south side of Lake Nacimiento.

On Sunday afternoon, officials announced that Highway 1 would be closed for at least 24 hours due to fire activity.[3] Dry south-west winds and temperatures approaching 100 °F drove the fire.

By Monday morning the fire had grown to over 4,300 acres. At a briefing on Monday morning, August 15, officials warned that the area had not burned since the 1960s meaning there is a significant amount of dry, flammable brush that could cause dramatic fire behavior.[5] Officials from CAL FIRE also stated that at least 20 homes had been damaged or destroyed, but made clear that the extent of the damage would not be known until crews could enter the burned areas to make a full assessment.

By Wednesday the fire had grown to 8,000 acres with 25% containment. 45 structures were confirmed destroyed. By Thursday it was 30% contained and had burned 8,300 acres.

At 17,000 acres on Saturday afternoon with 35% containment, the fire was within 2 miles of Hearst Castle. Tours were cancelled as park staff prepared to move some of the massive art and antiques collection if necessary.


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