Update 3:05 p.m.
The Chimney Fire has grown to 4,000 acres, according to a tweet from Cal Fire SLO. Evacuations are being assisted by boat, and 150 homes are threatened.
Officials are working to evacuate more people as they fight the Chimney Fire, a growing blaze near Nacimiento Lake. The wildfire had spread to 1,450 acres with 10 percent containment as of 8 a.m. Sunday, according to Cal Fire.
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Because of a shift in the direction of the fire — it’s now heading north, toward the lake — evacuation orders have been sent for people who had been sheltering in place.
The Rancho del Lago, Cal Shasta and Tri-County areas of Running Deer Ranch were being evacuated from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, said Sgt. Dave Nottenkamper of the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office.
He did not know how many people were affected as a large number of residences in that area are vacation homes.
In addition to sending out reverse 911 messages, sheriff’s deputies were trying to visit each residence that needs to be evacuated, Nottenkamper said. When they visit each address, they log it into a system with information about what was said or if no one was home, and mark the property with evidence tape.
The shelter sat empty through the night and saw its first visitors Sunday morning when three people came in to get help retrieving their cars and items from one of the evacuated areas, said Red Cross Volunteer June Cochran, shelter manager.
They were part of a group of about 16 out-of-towners who had been evacuated from the area. The group didn’t know that the shelter was open and instead had spent the night in a motel.
Shelter volunteers, along with San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Frank Mecham, worked with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services to resolve the situation. Mecham and sheriff deputies eventually accompanied the group to retrieve their cars and items.
The evacuation shelter was put on standby Sunday morning, but it opened again early Sunday afternoon.
The fire began at around 4 p.m. Saturday and is burning in the area of Gage Irving Road.
An inversion layer blanketed the fire at about 1 a.m. Sunday morning, slowing its growth. Fire crews were able to protect homes and gain control lines.
The inversion lifted Sunday morning to reveal more fires, Cal Fire said. The weather in the area was expected to reach 95 degrees with slightly higher humidity Sunday. The vegetation, largely grass and drought-stressed oak woodland, is susceptible to fire.
No buildings have been damaged; 100 structures are threatened by the fire.
There were 100 people working to fight the fire Sunday morning: 20 engines, three water tenders, six helicopters, four air tankers, two hand crews and three dozers. Cal Fire San Luis Obispo sought additional help.