Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

KPBS Evening Edition

Parts Of Fallbrook In Ashes After Lilac Fire

Burned down homes at Rancho Monserate Country Club off U.S. Route 395 are shown in this photo, Dec. 8, 2017.
Susan Murphy
Burned down homes at Rancho Monserate Country Club off U.S. Route 395 are shown in this photo, Dec. 8, 2017.

Jump to: Fire and Evacuations Map | Lilac Fire Evacuation Information | Liberty Fire Evacuation Information

San Diego Fires Fact Sheet

Lilac Fire

Size: 4,100 acres

Contained: 50%

Road Closures: State Route 76 from Interstate 15 and East Vista Way

Sweetwater Fire

Size: 7 acres

Contained: 100%

UPDATE: 7:00 P.M., Dec. 9, 2017

Cal Fire reports Lilac Fire is now 50 percent contained, 4,100 acres burned.


UPDATE: 9:20 .M., Dec. 9, 2017

Lilac Fire is now 20 percent contained, 4,100 acres burned, according to Cal Fire.

UPDATE: 8:10 P.M., Dec. 8, 2017

Cal Fire reports Lilac Fire is now 15 percent contained; still at 4,100 acres burned.

Cleveland National Forest reports the Sweetwater Fire is down to 7 acres burned and 100 percent contained.


UPDATE: 6:26 P.M., Dec. 8, 2017

Firefighters battling the Lilac Fire switched from a defensive approach to an offensive attack Friday. The fire has burned more than 4,100 acres and destroyed at least 85 structures.

READ: What You Need To Know In The Event Of A Wildfire In San Diego County

As of midday there was still no containment of the fire that broke out Thursday morning, though authorities said they're trying to stay ahead of the blaze's forward march.

The efforts have employed more than 1,000 firefighters and other personnel, 100 fire engines and 15 helicopters, including some military aircraft, Cal Fire spokesman Kendal Bortisser said.

"The region is being tested in a big way," County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said. "The good news about that is we have more resources available than we ever have before. We have more resources on the ground than we ever had to knock these fires out. We're better prepared than we ever have been in San Diego County."

Some 20,000 people are without power as a result of the fire, according to authorities.

San Diego County Supervisor Diane Jacob said the outages are due to the fire and San Diego Gas & Electric's decision to cut off power as a safety precaution.

She said the company's decision has left her "very concerned."

"SDG&E's policy is to de-energize," she said. "Fire agencies depend on well water, that could pose an additional danger. I hope SDG&E knows what they are doing. I don't have a lot of confidence in that."

SDG&E responded to Jacob's comments saying they have a team working "around the clock and collaborating with Cal Fire" to "ensure public safety."

We’re deeply disappointed in Supervisor Jacobs’ comments. It is insulting to our hardworking men and women who are dedicated to delivering safe and reliable energy, and keeping the public safe. Our team of experts has been working around the clock and collaborating with Cal Fire and other fire agencies, the County of San Diego, and other organizations to proactively ensure public safety. We have had employees activated in our Emergency Operations Center since Monday, we staged crews, contracted fire fighters and brought in additional support to help us respond to changing conditions. Our highest priority is public safety and we will focus on that effort throughout these extreme weather conditions.

A burned down golf cart at Rancho Monserate Country Club off U.S. Route 395 is shown in this photo, Dec. 8, 2017.
Susan Murphy
A burned down golf cart at Rancho Monserate Country Club off U.S. Route 395 is shown in this photo, Dec. 8, 2017.

RELATED: North County Representatives React To Lilac Fire

The blaze erupted for unknown reasons at about 11:25 a.m. Thursday, just west of Interstate 15 and north of Lilac Road in Pala Mesa amid gusty, arid weather. Driven by 35 mph Santa Ana winds, the blaze had scorched 4,100 acres as of Thursday night, a figure that authorities said remained steady Friday morning.

But Friday's sunrise revealed little growth overnight thanks in large part to the weakening winds and elevated humidity levels in the 15- to 25-percent range.

At least six injuries were reported Thursday, including a firefighter who dislocated a shoulder and one who was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation. Three non-firefighters suffered burn wounds of unknown severity while another person suffered a case of smoke inhalation.

A fire truck passes through a neighborhood burned down by the Lilac Fire at Rancho Monserate Country Club off U.S. Route 395, Dec. 8, 2017.
Susan Murphy
A fire truck passes through a neighborhood burned down by the Lilac Fire at Rancho Monserate Country Club off U.S. Route 395, Dec. 8, 2017.

San Diego County was quick to proclaim a state of local emergency mid-afternoon, helping make the region eligible for state and federal resources.

Later in the afternoon, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a state emergency proclamation for San Diego County and Friday morning President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration for the state due to the Lilac Fire and other large fires burning in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

"The president's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts," according to the White House. "Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency."

RELATED: How To Help In The Aftermath Of Lilac Wildfire

Aircraft from the city of San Diego and Kern County were being used to conduct overnight water drops, according to Cal Fire Deputy Chief Dave Nissen.

About 150 law enforcement personnel were working in the fire-ravaged area, handling road closures and providing security for evacuated homes.

Residents near the fire should not wait for a mandatory evacuation order or a knock on the door from law enforcement, Sheriff William D. Gore said. They should rely on common sense and leave their homes if they feel they are in danger, he said.

Campuses in at least 11 school districts including in Bonsall, Carlsbad, Fallbrook, Julian, San Marcos and Vista were closed Friday. All classes and campus events in the Palomar Community College District were canceled.

Click the map for evacuation details.

Cal Fire has reduced the following evacuation orders to evacuation warnings:

Lilac Fire Evacuation Information


The latest evacuation orders from Cal Fire are for residents who live within the perimeter of these roads:

For the latest information about mandatory evacuation orders, visit the Cal Fire San Diego Twitter page or the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services website.

Evacuation Centers:

–East Valley Community Center, 2245 E. Valley Parkway Escondido (*Small pets friendly)

–Palomar College at 1140 W. Mission Road in San Marcos (*Small pets friendly)

–Bostonia Rec Center at 1049 Bostonia St. in El Cajon (*Small pets friendly)

–Pala Casino, 11154 CA-76, Pala

–Del Mar Fairgrounds (*Accepts large animals)

–Carlsbad Forum in Carlsbad

–Stagecoach Community Park, 3420 Camino de Los Coches, Carlsbad (*At capacity)

-Oceanside High School, 1 Pirates Cove Way, Oceanside, 92054 (*At capacity)

Another fire has been reported in Murrieta in Riverside County, prompting evacuation orders, however, as of Friday morning, all mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted, according to the Murrieta Fire Department. The fire is currently at 300 acres with 60 percent containment.

Liberty Fire Evacuation Information


Los Alamos Road

–Liberty Road

–Mary Place

–Via Mira Mosa

–Madelda Lane

–Skipper Road

–Ernest Way

–Mesa Avenue

Evacuation Centers:

–Mesa High School 24801 Monroe St., Murrieta

–Evacuated animals (large and small) can go to San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus at 581 South Grand Avenue, San Jacinto

Residents Return to Homes Burned to Ground by Lilac Fire

This is a developing story. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.