Wildfire in San Luis Obispo County prompts Hearst Castle to close, leads to more evacuations
Fourth Estate Staff
San Luis Obispo, CA, United States (4E) – The wildfire in San Luis Obispo County, California got so big that the Hearst Castle had to be closed and more evacuations were done on Saturday.
The wildfire was said to be wind-driven and has been going on for eight days on Saturday. The fire came as close as three miles to the national historic landmark so the California State Parks officials decided to close it and cancel the tours at the Hearst Castle.
According to State Parks supervising ranger Robert Chambers, this might be the first time that they closed the national historic landmark due to a wildfire. They normally order the closing of Hearst Castle due to bad weather conditions. Chambers added, “A fire has never come this close before.” The Hearst Castle also stopped conducting tours due to the heavy smoke.
The closing of the Hearst Castle allowed fire crews to set up firefighting equipment so as to protect the national historic landmark if ever the fire reaches it. Aside from fire crews, workers at the Hearst Castle spent says cutting brush and putting in fire lines to create a strong space around the castle so the wildfire will not severely damage the infrastructure. The large art collection at Hearst Castle is also set to be moved if needed but Chambers said that they have not moved anything yet. The art collection is that of William Randolph Hearst.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Mike Yuli said on Saturday afternoon that the wildfire also crossed a containment line that resulted in authorities issuing evacuation orders for numerous communities, both in the north and west sides of Lake Nacimiento . Lake Nacimiento is 180 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Since the fire began, which was on August 13, the fire burned a total of 31 square miles and destroyed a total of 48 structures. Only 35 percent of the fire has been contained by fire officials.