Update 11 a.m. A smoky haze hung in the air near Bee Rock and Interlake roads north of Lake Nacimiento on Tuesday morning.
Dawn Doiel, her daughter, Mallory Doiel-Glisson, and nephew, Nate Broden, used zip ties to hang a ‘Thank you firefighters’ banner between a Dead End sign and a tree near Bee Rock Store.
Chimney Fire stats: 7 a.m. Tuesday 37,101 acres, 35 percent contained 3,983 firefighting personnel 52 structures destroyed (36 homes, 16 outbuildings); 7 damaged 1,896 structures threatened Evacuations ordered: Christmas Cove, Oak Shores, North Shore Boat and Ski, Laguna Vista, South Shore Village, Cal Shasta, Ranchos del Lago, Sapaqua Valley, Bee Rock, Lake San Antonio and Bryson Hesperia areas Road closures: G14 Interlake Road from Lake Nacimiento Dam to Bryson Hesperia Road. Traffic control manned by CHP at Interlake Road at Bryson Hesperia Road and Interlake Road at Lake Nacimiento. 326 fire engines 107 fire crews 7 air tankers 17 helicopters 46 dozers 62 water tenders
Doiel said her family is “in it for the long haul” and not planning to obey orders to evacuate.
“It’s our property,” said Doiel, who has lived just off Lake Nacimiento for more than 20 years.
The family has a lot of “defensible space” and a boat that allows them to travel to nearby Heritage Ranch, where friends help them stock up on supplies. “We’re just prepared,” Doiel said.
Evacuation centers Flamson Middle School, 2405 Spring St., Paso Robles. Small animals: Call for information on area boarding facilities, 805-423-4934. Large animals: Horse Emergency Evacuation Team, 805-466-7457.Important phone numbers American Red Cross: 805-550-0213. Chimney Fire public information hotline: 805-543-2444. For help with food, shelter, transportation, health services, utilities, dial: 2-1-1. To replace EBT cards, call SLO County Social Services (Paso Robles office): 805-237-3110. To replace vital records, call SLO County Clerk-Recorder (Atascadero office): 805-461-6044. For insurance help, call the state Dept. of Insurance Consumer Hotline: 800-927-4357.Other information Visit www.slocounty.ca.gov/emergencies/Chimney_Fire_Resources
Most people in the nearby North Shore community have evacuated, Doiel said. Even though she and her family are committed to staying, Doiel said riding out the fire isn’t easy.
“It’s been scary,” she said.
The family — and anyone who ignores evacuation orders — is risking injury or death, according to Cal Fire officials.
“We are begging people to get out,” Cal Fire spokeswoman Diley Greiser said. “It’s their right to stay but they are risking their lives and our firefighting operations.”
Greiser said residents underestimate how quickly flames and smoke can overtake them. They also don’t realize that by staying, they may jeopardize the battle to save as many homes as possible if firefighters have to rescue them or if engines have to dodge vehicles driven by late evacuees.
“It’s our job to fight the fire,” Greiser said. “Let us do that.”
Update 9 a.m. The 37,101-acre Chimney Fire hasn’t advanced any closer to the historic Hearst Castle, Cal Fire spokeswoman Diley Greiser said. Officials have estimated since the weekend that the fire is 2-3 miles from the Castle property. Greiser said that firefighters may set backfires this afternoon to create a fire break, but that decision will be made based on wind and other conditions.
“We are comfortable that (the Castle) is not in danger at this moment,” she said.
The fire is 35 percent contained and the most active part of the blaze is at its northern end. Flames are expected to drive northeast this afternoon, particularly as morning onshore breezes shift direction and begin to blow out of the south and southwest (blowing toward the north, northeast) at 10 mph with gusts of 20 mph.
But upper level winds are expected to turn out of the north to norhtwest today, causing smoke aloft to drift toward the southeast.
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors has added an emergency item to its agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, to ratify a Proclamation of Local Emergency made by the director of the county Office of Emergency Services on Saturday and to provide direction to county staff to waive fees for rebuilding as a result of the Chimney Fire. More than 2,400 people are affected by the evacuation orders issued for the fire, according to county officials.
Original story: The Chimney Fire grew by nearly 4,000 acres Monday night, burning dry brush and trees along steep terrain to the northeast. As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, the fire had scorched 37,101 acres and remained 35 percent contained. No more structures were damaged overnight.
Flames on Monday destroyed at least two homes and two outbuildings in the South Shore community. A total of 52 structures have been destroyed by the fire: 36 homes and 16 outbuildings.
Cal Fire spokeswoman Diley Greiser said Tuesday that rugged terrain and spot fires caused by wind were the two main challenges firefighters faced overnight.
“Certain areas were very steep, which made it difficult to fight,” she said.
A total of 3,983 personnel will fight the fire on Tuesday with help from 326 fire engines, 46 bulldozers, 17 helicopters and seven air tankers.
Higher humidity and lower temperatures will help efforts in the western area of the fire, Greiser said. But humidity will remain low and temperatures high in the north and east, which will make conditions more challenging, she said.
Smoky conditions and tough-to-access terrain also causes concerns about firefighters’ safety, Greiser said.
“Our major concern is we don’t want firefighters to be trapped behind the line,” she said.
The fire continues to threaten Oak Shores, Christmas Cove, South Shore Village, Rancho Del Lago, Cal Shasta, Bryson Hesperia and Lake San Antonio in the northeastern area and Hearst Castle to the west.
Greiser urged those ordered to evacuate to leave their homes as soon as possible.