An air tanker drops retardant on the Creek Fire. Courtesy Cal Fire

More than 7,000 residents evacuated from the raging Creek Fire were cleared to return to their homes Thursday night after firefighters succeeded in building a containment ring around the 4,276-acre blaze.

“A ring has been built around the Creek Fire, containing and stopping it from reaching any housing areas,” officials at Camp Pendleton tweeted. “Thank you to everyone for their efforts today, and Merry Christmas.”

Cal Fire said crews planned to work through the night building the containment ring and mopping up. The blaze was 35% contained and no structural damage was reported.

The Creek Fire was first reported about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 37000 block of De Luz Road in Fallbrook. It was unclear what sparked the blaze, which erupted amid a red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service.

Mandatory evacuations were issued about 1 a.m. for homes on De Luz Road, Main Avenue, Dougherty Street and Ceramic, Darla and Shady lanes in Fallbrook and De Luz Housing and Lake O’Neill campground on Camp Pendleton, according to Cal Fire and the North County Fire Protection District.

Additional evacuation orders were issued shortly before 2:55 a.m. for about 7,000 residents on the west side of Fallbrook, south of Main Avenue to South Mission Road, according to Cal Fire.

— City News Service

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