The Chimney fire in San Luis Obispo County was burning Tuesday about two miles east of Hearst Castle, where for days crew have been protecting the tourist attraction by cutting multiple fire lines.
The historic 165-room estate remains closed, and tours are canceled through Sunday, California State Parks said in a statement. Visitors with reservations through the weekend will be contacted about refunds, officials said.
The Chimney fire has challenged firefighters, who thought they had gained the upper hand before winds picked up and it exploded over the weekend, officials said. The blaze was mostly moving north, but fire crews were preparing for the winds to shift on Tuesday, said Cal Fire Capt. Lucas Spelman.
The Blue Cut fire, now fully contained after burning for one week near the Cajon Pass, destroyed an estimated 105 homes and 213 other structures in San Bernardino County and now ranks as the 20th most destructive wildfire in state history, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The massive fire put more than 82,000 residents under mandatory evacuation orders and created major transportation problems when it forced the closure of the 15 Freeway and Highway 138 and scorched a stretch of freight railroad tracks that curve through the Cajon Pass.
The cause of the wildfire remains under investigation.
The Chimney fire expanded to 24,096 acres Saturday night as fire teams worked to prevent its advance toward historic Hearst Castle and other communities.
The fire’s leading edge was about two miles from the National Historic Landmark and museum Saturday, and firefighters have managed to arrest the fire’s advance by concentrating trucks and firefighters in the area between the castle and the fire. Winds and temperatures were also cooperating.
The Chimney fire in San Luis Obispo County is threatening Hearst Castle and the buildings around it, Cal Fire authorities said Saturday afternoon.
The fire was headed toward the national historic landmark and the leading edge was just two miles away, said Cal Fire spokeswoman Emily Hjortstorp. Crews are expecting winds of up to 20 mph, but the fire isn’t traveling especially fast, she said.
Bulldozers, trucks and firefighters are digging containment lines around the castle, Hjorstorp said. No evacuation orders have been issued for the area.
Firefighters tightened their grip on the fast-moving Blue Cut fire overnight Friday, capitalizing on humid weather conditions to gain greater control over the 37,020-acre blaze, authorities said Saturday.
The fire, which is 68% contained, has destroyed 105 homes and 213 other structures in San Bernardino County since it broke out Tuesday for reasons investigators are still trying to determine.
The tally for California’s harsh fire season ascended to even grimmer terrain Saturday as officials announced that the Blue Cut fire in the Cajon Pass has destroyed 105 homes and 213 other structures.
The toll in San Bernardino County caps a week of extensive losses across California, including 300 structures destroyed in Lake County in Northern California when a wildfire raced through the town of Lower Lake, hammering its downtown area.