Update 5:55 p.m. on new evacuations and school closures …
For a roundup of each local fire, see Fire Central: San Diego’s Wildfires at a Glance; see also, Gov. Brown Declares State of Emergency, FEMA Funding Available; for fears that arson could be a factor, see Carlsbad Fire 10 Percent Contained As Officials Raise Fears About Arson; for images residents captured in their community as the flames approached, see Residents Prepare for the Worst, Flee Flames in the Wake of the Poinsettia Fire.
A second day of extreme weather sparked one wildfire after another throughout the day Wednesday, prompting evacuations and stretching resources as fire crews struggled to get the upper hand on blazes burning throughout the region.
A state of emergency was declared by the county as fires raged in Carlsbad – where eight homes, an eight-unit apartment complex and one commercial structure were damaged by the fire – Escondido, Oceanside, Bonsall, Camp Pendleton, Scripps Ranch and Lakeside, forcing residents and students to flee and destroying a smattering of homes and other structures.
Firefighters continued to jump to new outbreaks throughout the day, the latest in East County, where Lakeside Fire Protection District reported they are responding to Aurora Drive at the business route of Highway 8 and watching over homes on Sterling Drive.
“Crews working to secure line on east side of fire. If successful they are optimistic,” the district tweeted at 6:10 p.m. Heartland Fire joined in the efforts and urged residents to avoid the area.
Lakeside responders already had been aiding with the Poinsettia Fire on Wednesday and the Bernardo Fire on Tuesday. Rancho Santa Fe fire crews, which were inundated Tuesday, began to be shifted to aid other agencies Wednesday as North County fought off blazes on multiple fronts.
That signaled a break in the Bernardo fire, which is 50 percent contained after burning more than 1,500 acres, and in the late evening, flames near Scripps Ranch Boulevard and Canyon Lake Drive were “knocked down,” reported Mayor Kevin Faulconer reported via Twitter.
But firefighters have yet to gain the upper hand on most of the new blazes. Hours before, as the state of emergency was announced, the city of San Marcos issued evacuation orders for residents of North San Elijo Hills, Discovery Hills, Discovery Meadows and Coronado Hills after a brush fire was sparked just behind Cal State San Marcos. The campus was evacuated, and the fire caused Interstate 15 to be shut down in both directions at Highway 76.
Those orders spread in the early evening to all neighborhoods south of San Marcos Boulevard, including Lake San Marcos, the county reported.
Mission Hills High School and San Marcos Middle School are taking in evacuated residents. The high school is at located at 1 while the middle school is at 650 West Mission Road.
Schools will be closed throughout North and East County Thursday. Districts that have canceled classes include Carlsbad, Bonsall, Poway and Vista, and in the east, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Grossmont and Lemon Grove.
The Highway Fire in northeastern San Diego County pushed residents out of its wake and officials opened a shelter at Fallbrook High School, and were accepting pets at Oceanside Ivy Ranch at 110 Rancho Del Oro in Oceanside, Cloverdale Ranch at 2460 Cloverdale Road in Escondido or Warner Ranch at 10950 Pala Road in Pala.
Two fires erupted on Camp Pendleton amid dry, blisteringly hot conditions — one blackening scores of acres on the eastern side of the base and another charring brush along Interstate 5 and forcing a full closure of the freeway.
The first of the two blazes began spreading about 9:45 a.m. at Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, according to Camp Pendleton public affairs. As the flames quickly spread, authorities evacuated the station along with military housing in the De Luz and O’Neill Heights areas, and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School and De Luz Child Development Center.
The second fire broke out about 10 a.m. on the eastern side of the I-5, near Las Pulgas Road, possibly due to a fire that engulfed a truck, according to the California Highway Patrol.
By early afternoon, the eastern fire had burned about 150 acres, base officials said. Military and civilian crews battled the flames on the ground and aboard firefighting aircraft.
Within a half-hour, the other blaze had grown to about 3 acres, the CHP reported. By 11:30 a.m., it had jumped to the western shoulder, necessitating a closure of both sides of the freeway in the area, according to the state agency.
In Fallbrook, a brush fire burning off Interstate 15 prompted authorities to order residents who live off West Lilac Road to immediately leave the area. The North County Fire Protection District issued the evacuation order about 12:30 p.m. No shelter information was available.
Wind was spreading the Poinsettia Fire, burning homes and parkland in Carlsbad just south of McClellan-Palomar Airport and forcing evacuations of residents, three nearby schools and the Legoland amusement park.
An unseasonable heat wave pushed temperatures into the mid- to high 90s in many parts of the county by midday.
But 10News quoted a North County Fire District spokesman as saying the 30- to 40-acre blaze on the Marine base was not a threat to Fallbrook.
At noon, the CHP reported that the fire had jumped I-5 and that southbound vehicles were turning around and heading the wrong way.
Rail service was suspended in the San Onofre area as of midday due to the smaller blaze, according to North County Transit District.
The Camp Pendleton Scout newspaper reported on its Facebook page that Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook personnel and the Marine base’s DeLuz housing residents were ordered to evacuate.
Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School has also been evacuated, the Scout said.
“We are encouraging parents to NOT pick up their students at the school,” the school site said. “Children at MFP will be evacuated to Paige Fieldhouse on base. Parent calls are being sent now.”
A wind-driven brush fire broke out just south of McClellan-Palomar Airport, burning parkland and forcing the evacuation of some residents and three nearby schools.
The blaze was reported around 10:40 a.m. near Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road, just east of El Camino Real. Winds pushed the flames west toward neighborhoods and some high-tech businesses.
CBS8 reported that Aviara Community Park was damaged by the blaze, but it was not immediately clear if any structures had caught fire.
The county of San Diego reported that more than 11,600 residences and businesses received reverse 9-1-1 calls urging the occupants to evacuate. An evacuation center was set up at the Westfield Plaza Camino Real, 2525 El Camino Real.
Schools evacuated were Aviara Oaks elementary and middle schools, and Poinsettia Elementary. A statement on the district’s website said students were not in danger.
Aviara Oaks students were taken to the Brighton Gardens Senior Center at El Camino Real and Aviara Parkway, while Poinsettia Elementary pupils were transported to Carrillo Elementary School at 2875 Poinsettia Lane in San Marcos.
The fire was somewhat close to the airport, but Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration said flight operations were not dramatically affected. He said aircraft were being directed around the smoke.
The blaze was reported around 10:40 a.m. near Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road, just east of El Camino Real. Winds pushed the flames west toward neighborhoods and some high-tech businesses. Poinsettia Elementary, just east of where the fire started, was evacuated as a precaution, according to the Carlsbad Unified School District.
At Camp Pendleton, Paige Field House was the evacuation site, according to the base’s Facebook page.
The fire was reported before 9:45 a.m. on the Naval Weapons Station, according to reports.
Carlsbad Unified School District officials say no students or staff are currently in danger.
The district is placing information on its website.
NBC San Diego reported an apartment complex was being evacuated at Poinsettia Lane and Cassia Road.
About 11 a.m., the CHP also said it was responding to reports of a fire on eastbound state Route 78 near Emerald Drive in Vista.
— City News Service contributed to this report.