Wildfires burn through San Diego area, forcing thousands to evacuate

Wildfires continued to burn through the San Diego area Thursday, scorching nearly 2,600 acres and forcing scores of people to evacuate as firefighters spent a second day battling the blazes.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) declared a state of emergency in San Diego on Wednesday night, saying that the fire had burned thousands of acres and destroyed several structures.


A wildfire approaches a San Marcos home on Wednesday. (AP)

The wildfires had destroyed at least 20 buildings across San Diego, the county said Wednesday, with multiple homes devastated throughout the region. 

California State University in San Marcos shut down through at least Friday, with the commencement scheduled for Friday and Saturday canceled, while schools were shuttered across San Diego County on Thursday.

Capital Weather Gang has more about what is fueling the wildfires here. A combination of extremely hot, dry air and gusty winds are fueling these fires, and the forecast calls for the danger to continue through Thursday.

This map from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection illustrates the breadth of the problem facing firefighters and other authorities as they tried to deal with wildfires across a particularly large stretch of land:


View California Fire Map in a larger map

The city of Carlsbad reported that 10 buildings had been damaged by fire, causing at least $18.5 million in damage.

“This is May, this is unbelievable,” Michael Davis, fire chief for Carlsbad, told the Associated Press. “This is something we should see in October. I haven’t seen it this hot, this dry, this long in May.”

Mandatory evacuations were issued in San Marcos, where a fire had spread across 700 acres and destroyed at least three buildings by early Thursday morning.


San Marcos on Wednesday. (AP)

The evacuation orders in San Marcos remained as the sun rose Thursday, city officials said, while several roads were closed.

A fire burning at Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base between San Diego and Los Angeles, forced the evacuation of several facilities and closed several additional buildings Wednesday.

This particular fire, which started at a naval weapons facility Wednesday at 9:45 a.m., has burned about 6,000 acres, according to the Marines. Housing units were evacuated, while damage to more than 40 power lines left parts of the base without power. Nearly 900 people who were forced out of their housing units and schools gathered at an evacuation site on the base.

This post has been updated to add the Capital Weather Gang link.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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