An aerial view of the Creek Fire area. Courtesy San Diego Sheriff

Firefighters were mopping up Friday from the wind-driven Creek Fire, which had burned 4,276 acres and was 35% contained and completely encircled on Christmas Eve, fire officials said.

“As of last night the fire was pretty much knocked down and they have it completely encircled,” said Frank Parra, National City Fire Department director of emergency services, citing a report from a fire strike team captain on the scene. “They’ve released all outside fire resources, and it’s now just local fire resources involved. Today’s plan is to call in a few Type 3 resources, smaller fire engines designed for off-road in rough terrain, to mop up hot spots.”

Camp Pendleton’s Base Commander Brig. Gen. Dan Conley said Thursday that firefighters were using a burning technique to put out the brush fire, which erupted late Wednesday night in the 37000 block of De Luz Road near Fallbrook. The fire, which grew to 3,050 acres Thursday, prompted mandatory evacuations and road closures.

Mandatory evacuations were issued 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. That evacuation order was lifted Thursday night and about 7,000 residents were allowed to return to their homes.

The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District issued a smoke advisory for residents near Fallbrook and Camp Pendleton, warning that smoke will likely impact the area and that residents should assume the air quality levels are unhealthy for all people. Residents were advised to remain indoors, if possible, and limit physical activities in areas that smell like smoke.

The Creek Fire was first reported about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 37000 block of De Luz Road, about two miles west of Sandia Creek Drive. It was unclear what sparked the blaze, which erupted amid a red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service for high winds and low humidity.

The flames were pushed by the wind into Camp Pendleton early Thursday morning, according to the North County Fire Protection District, and by 6 a.m. had burned 750 acres.

Because of steep terrain, difficult access and high wind speeds, the blaze quickly spread over a much wider area.

No structural damage has been reported from the Creek Fire.

–City News Service