San Luis Obispo County

Hearst Castle Tours Canceled Through Sunday Due to Chimney Fire

Hundreds come to observe Chimney Fire behind Hearst Castle

Hundreds come to observe Chimney Fire behind Hearst Castle

SAN SIMEON, Calif. - UPDATE:

Monday afternoon California State Parks officials said Hearst Castle will be remain closed through August 28th. Officials say fire conditions will re-assessed Sunday, then they can determine reinstate tours or not. The Hearst Castle Visitor center is open. 

If you would like a refunds for your canceled tour, please call Reserve America 1-800-444-4445.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Hundreds of people came to the Hearst Castle Observation Deck today to see it for themselves - the fire still just a few miles away from Hearst Castle. Firefighters say in the past 24 hours, this fire has grown 10,000 acres.

"Well basically we're just out here on vacation..we live in Richmond, Virginia," fire observer Al Seim said.

Al Seim's family bought their tickets two weeks ago.

"We already knew it was closed, we saw that one the news yesterday," Seim said.

So they showed up anyway to watch this firefighting operation from the Visitor Center Observation Deck.

"It's turned from a historic attraction to sort of  a news visit or a war story sort of thing so we've just been watching the helicopters fly the pay loads back and forth," Seim said.

There's currently hundreds of firefighters in this area near Hearst Castle. They're planning a firing operation for either Sunday night or Monday morning.

"So what we do is we put fire on the ground using a variety of different methods in order to burn that vegetation or remove that vegetation in front of the main body of fire," fire investigator Amber Anderson said.

Fire investigator Amber Anderson says these firing operations are planned out and not done haphazardly.

"So as that fire front advances towards us, we have a safe place for firefighters to take a stand and hold that fire from advancing towards an established line," Anderson said.

They even use a detailed checklist.

"What's known as a firing operation checklist..this is a mandatory checklist that all firefighters need to go over before a firing operation," Anderson said.

Firefighters say the fire has not moved closer to Hearst Castle since Saturday.

"They did lose a couple cabins and the Hearst family has been notified," Anderson said.

Officials say the 1,000's of artifacts inside the monument are being sheltered in place.

"Just glad to see everyone's working hard to save history," Seim said.

Hearst Castle has canceled tours for tomorrow.
It'll be a game-time decision for Tuesday.


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