Fire at Lake Nacimiento Tuesday reminds residents of devastating Chimney Fire

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 17, 2018

When a fire broke out at Lake Nacimiento on Tuesday morning, residents were prepared.

Loretta Borges, who lives in the Running Deer Ranch community on the south side of the lake, called 911 just before noon.

In case of a fire, she has her own truck with a 500 gallon water tank. 

"It’s got its lights and everything," Borges explained, adding that it’s full and "ready to go!"

"I would have started it up today, had they hadn’t come. I would have ran it down, which was good I didn’t because the power lines were down over there where I probably would have ran it."

The flames came within 300 yards of her home on Cow Camp Road.

"My power went out and I walked around the corner of the house, out the back door and around the corner and saw the flames and called 911 and started opening gates," she said.

The fire started on the hillside within view of her home near some power lines.

Nearly two years ago, Borges was faced with a similar scenario as the Chimney Fire burned about 50 yards away. That time she used her truck.
"My thoughts was now I’m safe on all four sides cause it’s burned all the way around me!" Borges said.

The fire, which broke out along the 6000 block of Gage Irving Road, burned 14 acres. Several homes were threatened Tuesday afternoon.

At one home that was a staging area for firefighters during the Chimney Fire, smoke could again be seen Tuesday in the exact same spot on the Chimney Fire burn scar almost 24 months later.

"In a way, the Chimney scar kind of benefited us because we don’t have the real heavy vegetation here, it’s mostly grass," said Chris Elms, CAL FIRE SLO Public Information Officer.

"The flames weren’t real high, and it was just kind of creeping through the grass and there was a few trees that were burning but it didn’t seem to be moving. There was no wind at that time," Borges said.

Steep terrain was an obstacle for firefighters on the ground.

Other residents say their biggest concerns are bonfires and fireworks being used by those who don’t live in the area.

Fire officials urge residents to be vigilant.

"As you can see behind me, fire can start at any time," Elms said.

The sign posted as you enter the Running Deer Ranch community, "Extreme Fire Danger," is an important reminder. CAL FIRE says that having defensible space and an evacuation plan are now key that we’re in the peak of fire season.