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Crews At Camp Pendleton Battling Three Large Brush Fires

Reporters from KPBS News and KPBS media partner 10News talk about covering the multiple wildfires that have hit San Diego County.

A third wildfire erupted Friday on the grounds of Camp Pendleton as military and civilian crews worked to subdue two others that have blackened more than 14,500 acres on the base this week, authorities said.

The latest blaze to break out on the Marine base near Oceanside began spreading just before 11:30 a.m. near Basilone Road, fire officials said.

By 7:45 p.m. Friday, the Combat fire in the Talega area of the base had grown to more than 700 acres and was burning out of control, base officials said.

The Combat fire led officials to order three areas be evacuated. Those in the 62 Area were to go to the Paige Field House via Christianitos Road West, Interstate 5 or state Route 76. The San Onofre Housing Area was ordered to evacuate via I-5 south and report to the Paige Field House. The School of Infantry West were to evacuate via Basilone Road West, I-5 South and report Edson Range.

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Officials also released Friday night acreage and containment figures for the other two fires still burning.

The fast-moving Pulgas fire, which at one point was 5 percent contained, was back to burning out of control with no containment, base officials said. It broke out for unknown reasons about 3:15 p.m. Thursday near a sewage plant in the Las Pulgas area and has led to hundreds of evacuations.

The blaze has scorched 14,500 acres.

According to the Camp Pendleton Scout Facebook page, evacuation orders for Camp Las Pulgas, Camp Margarita, Camp Las Flores and 32 Area remain in effect because of the Pulgas fire. The post also said the commanding general directed that all non-essential personnel be released from duty by noon Friday due to the fires.

Firefighters did appear to be getting the upper hand on the Tomahawk fire, which started about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday and was 65 percent contained by Friday night. It has scorched about 6,500 acres on the eastern outskirts of Camp Pendleton.

The Tomahawk fire began at the Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook at the edge of Camp Pendleton, then spread onto the sprawling Marine base. The Fallbrook facility lost power and was closed Friday.

Anyone who is interested in donating items to firefighters or those who have been displaced by the Camp Pendleton fires can contact Master Sgt. Lopez at Marine Corps Community Services Business Operations at (760) 725-5496.

What caused the three fires remains under investigation, base officials said.

Photo caption:

Photo by Alison St John

Smoke from the Pulgas Fire is seen from Oceanside, May 16, 2014.


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