NORTHERN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - Thousands of firefighters battling the Chimney Fire in northern San Luis Obispo County caught a bit of a break from the weather on Tuesday.
Calmer winds and higher humidity levels kept the wildfire from burning more than a thousand acres, far less than burn activity and spread in recent days that's seen the fire grow to nearly 40,000 acres with dozens of homes and buildings destroyed so far.
"Good news today, the fire actually cooperated", says Mark Beveridge with Calfire Public Information, "pretty much stayed within its containment area, crews got a real good advantage on it today."
Containment on the Chimney Fire is still less than 40 percent but that could change overnight with cooler temperatures, calmer winds and the return of the marine layer over the burn area.
"We had predicted winds that were going to be from about 1 to 3pm Tuesday afternoon, and from information we're getting back from the crews right now, it probably only blew for about a half hour, 45 minutes, in some of the more extreme areas that we were looking at", Beveridge says.
The Chimney Fire is burning in a north to northeast direction toward hundreds of homes around Lake Nacimiento and beyond in southern Monterey County and away from Hearst Castle and San Simeon which remain threatened.
More than 2,000 people have been instructed to evacuate but some are choosing to ignore the evacuation order.
Calfire is urging them to comply and leave now while its still safe to do so saying their refusal is putting them and firefighters at risk from the fire's spread.
There are now nearly 4,000 firefighting personnel assigned to the Chimney Fire incident which has been burning since Saturday afternoon, August 13.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.