Hearst Castle closes due to wind-driven wildfire

Ray Hunter
September 5, 2016

"We still can't stay here because we have no electricity or water, but I'm working on that", he said.

Johanna Santore, 63, her husband and their 10-year-old granddaughter were among those who learned Sunday they are still not being permitted to return home.

That blaze, which killed one, injured three and destroyed 57 homes, was 60% contained as of Sunday and continued to prove a challenge for firefighters due to rugged and inaccessible terrain along the fire's eastern edge.

The fire has burned more than 26 square miles and is 33 percent contained.

Hearst Castle, the palatial ocean-view estate built by the late newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst and a major stop on summer road trips, remained closed because of proximity to the fire.

The Hearst Castle in central California remains closed Sunday as a result of a wildfire burning in San Luis Obispo County.

The Blue Cut Fire was still smoldering Saturday, but officials are now able to make an estimate on damages.

But with the fire 73 percent contained, many residents were allowed to return home, Lopez said. Evacuation centers for residents and animals remained open, and the cause of the blaze was still unknown, officials said.

Leaving or staying when fire approaches is often a personal decision - even though California and some other states consider it a criminal offense to ignore mandatory evacuation orders.

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This is to say nothing of the financial and emotional cost of replacing homes and property destroyed by fire.

A wildfire burning in northern San Luis Obispo County grew to more than 27,000 acres Sunday, while the number of structures threatened jumped from 332 to 1,032. It remained 35 percent contained.

In rural Santa Barbara County, a 33-square-mile wildfire that forced the evacuation of two campgrounds was 20 per cent contained.

Winds that on Saturday were whipping the flames towards Hearst Castle reversed themselves temporarily, said Rich Brocchini, spokesman for Cal Fire.

In the southern Sierra Nevada, another blaze in Sequoia National Forest forced the evacuation of several tiny hamlets.

So far, one person has been injured by the blaze that has destroyed 34 residences and 14 other structures, damaged seven more and burned 27,546 acres.

More than 1,200 firefighters are battling the 6-square-mile blaze that started August 13 and spread to the community's downtown area and many residential neighborhoods.

In Northern California the Clayton fire tore through 4000 acres and nearly 200 homes, including that of Matthew Porter, who was tending to the US Olympic fencing team's equipment in Rio when he heard the news.

The Chimney Fire is one of six large wildfires that more than 10,000 firefighters are battling statewide, which include the destructive Clayton Fire that's almost contained in Lake County and the Soberanes Fire burning near Big Sur in Monterey County.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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