Update, Wednesday: Containment on the Poly Fire grew to 60 percent overnight
A fast-burning brush fire broke out on Cal Poly’s campus Tuesday afternoon, forcing temporary evacuations for students and nearby residents as the fire stretched across the hillside below the landmark P.
Temporary evacuations were ordered for the Sierra Madre and Yosemite residence halls, as well as homes along Slack Street. Evacuation warnings also had been issued for Miossi Road and Cuesta Park areas.
Cal Fire spokesman Chris Elms said officials were working to get evacuated students back into their housing late Tuesday evening. They gathered in groups on Grand Avenue near the parking structure waiting for the all-clear while the sound of fire alarms rang from the buildings.
By 7 p.m., the fire had burned 97 acres, and was 20 percent contained.
Update, 8 p.m.
All road closures related to the Poly Fire have reopened and all temporary evacuations have been lifted, Cal Fire spokesman Chris Elms said.
Earlier Tuesday, evacuations had been ordered for the Yosemite and Sierra Madre dorms as well as Slack Street. Elms said Cal Poly made the decision to evacuate, and officials cleared students to return with Cal Fire.
Update, 7:35 p.m.
Cal Fire spokesman Chris Elms said officials are working to get evacuated students back into their housing late Tuesday evening.
Elms said air support earlier in the day helped box in the fire and crews were “looking pretty good” about 7:30 p.m.
Firefighters will remain on scene through the night, Elms said, and updated acreage and containment will be available Wednesday morning.
Update, 6:55 p.m.
The Poly Fire has spread to 97 acres and crews have reached 20 percent containment, according to Cal Fire.
Cal Fire said the blaze is “holding to the retardant line on the right flank” and crews are “making access to head of the fire.”
Update 6:20 p.m.
What to know:
▪ Evacuations are in place for the Yosemite and Sierra Madre dorms as well as Slack Street.
▪ Evacuation warnings have been issued for the Miossi Road and Cuesta Park areas.
▪ As of 6 p.m., the Poly Fire had grown to 80 acres.
Update 6 p.m.
The Poly Fire is up to 80 acres, and additional evacuation warnings have been issued for the Miossi Road and Cuesta Park areas of San Luis Obispo as the fire continues to burn along the hillside.
The Grand Avenue entrance to Cal Poly’s campus was bustling with students and public safety officials soon after the fire started.
Students on bicycles and on foot stopped to stare at the flames burning in the hillsides east of campus and take photos with their phones.
Shelby Robinett, a second year environmental management student, watched the fire off Grand Avenue.
She said she lives in Poly Canyon Village and saw the fire on Snapchat.
“I like watching natural disasters,” she said. “But it’s really unfortunate for the (Sierra Madre) Tower kids.”
San Luis Obispo police evacuated the entire east side of Slack Street.
Students and residents living just off campus hurriedly figured out which items to bring with them.
Some grabbed bedding, while one student walked down Slack Street carrying a desktop hard drive.
Sam Foucar, a fourth year child development major, prepared to evacuate from her Slack Street home with her two roommates.
“I’m not super hyped about my stuff being inside,” she said. “But (the fire) is moving, so I think it’ll be OK.”
Foucar’s roommate, Ally Yturralde, also a fourth-year child development student, said she was “just nervous.”
“I’m just hoping our house doesn’t actually burn down,” she said.
“We’re just like, ‘Where are we going to live for the rest of our senior year?’ ”
As evacuating students drove away, police asked onlookers to move onto Graves Street.
Nicole Linman, a fourth-year math major who lives on Graves Street, called the fire “kind of crazy” and “pretty scary.”
“I’m honestly packed and ready to go for a week,” she said.
Update 5:18 p.m.
Grand Avenue at Slack Street is closed. People are asked to instead use the California or Highland exits to leave campus.
Update 4:35 p.m:
Students on Slack Street in a residential area have also been evacuated and are being taken to Mott Gym.
The fire has grown to 40 acres, but is moving away from campus, according to Cal Fire.
SLO Transit has also announced its 3A, 3B, 4A and 4B routes will not stop at Cal Poly until further notice because of the fire.
Update 4 p.m:
Sierra Madre and Yosemite dorms on campus have been evacuated, Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier confirmed. The students are being taken to Mott Gym.
No further evacuations are planned as of yet.
Update, 3:50 p.m.
The fire is now about 20 acres, according to Cal Fire.
Cal Fire is responding to a fire on the Cal Poly campus near the Poly P.
In a tweet, Cal Fire reported the fire burning 2 to 3 acres of vegetation near the dorms.
This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.