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Crews Continue Fight Against San Diego County Fires Amid Record Heat

Fires glow at night in San Marcos, May 14, 2014.
Fires glow at night in San Marcos, May 14, 2014.

Dozens of homes have been destroyed or damaged, some 9,000 acres have burned and more than 120,000 evacuation notices were issued Wednesday and Thursday in San Diego County after nine wildfires, fueled by an unusual Santa Ana wind condition in May, swept across the region.

Fire crews battled flames overnight and were bracing for another day of extreme fire conditions on Thursday as record heat and low humidity were expected to continue to grip the county. A red flag warning was extended through 5 p.m. Thursday, but forecasters said the winds will be much weaker.

The fires prompted the closure of schools in 29 districts around San Diego County. YMCA San Diego offered free childcare for children in kindergarten through sixth grade from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday to assist families during the fire emergency.

Services at some North County hospitals were limited Thursday because of the facilities' proximity to the fires, including Kaiser Permanente's San Marcos Medical Offices, Palomar Medical Center and Palomar Health Downtown Campus.


The focal point on Thursday morning was an 1,000-acre fire in San Marcos that burned at least three homes and one structure south of state Route 78 near Cal State San Marcos. It was 5 percent contained.

The blaze, dubbed the Cocos fire, had forced the evacuation of the college campus, along with 21,000 other evacuation notifications for nearby residents. Graduation ceremonies at the college also were canceled.


Firefighters were continuing to work a Carlsbad fire that erupted Wednesday morning and had consumed 400 acres and was 60 percent contained by Thursday.

Dubbed the Poinsettia fire, it had destroyed 22 homes — 18 apartments and four houses — and two businesses, Carlsbad officials said. Six houses also were damaged.

Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall, in a Thursday morning news conference, asked people to keep roads as clear as possible for emergency personnel. He also thanked first responders, saying "although there was major structural damage done here in Carlsbad, we literally saved hundreds of homes.''


The largest blaze in the county, named the Tomahawk fire, had scorched more than 6,000 acres on the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. On Thursday morning, the fire was 20 percent contained and some evacuation orders were still in effect, including the De Luz Housing station, where 40 damaged power lines have knocked out power to the area.


The first big wildfire to erupt in San Diego County this week amid red flag conditions was 75 percent contained early Thursday.

Called the Bernardo fire, it started Tuesday morning in 4S Ranch and scorched nearly 1,600 acres as it burned as far west as Fairbanks Ranch, San Diego fire officials said.

The blaze began off Nighthawk Lane, southwest of Rancho Bernardo, and has been held steady at nearly 1,600 acres since Wednesday morning, Cal Fire said.

Three minor injuries have been reported as a result of the Bernardo fire, but no structures were lost, though thousands were evacuated at the height of the incident. All evacuation orders were lifted Tuesday night.


A fire burning in the bed of the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside burned 100 acres and was 20 percent contained on Thursday. No structures were damaged.


Evacuation orders were lifted Wednesday night in Pala, where 500 acres burned. The fire was 40 percent contained as of Thursday morning.


Three other fires that broke out Wednesday in Escondido, Scripps Ranch and Lakeside were quickly knocked down and have been fully contained, according to fire officials.

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