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Last updated at 11:32 p.m. May 15, 2014.
Wildfires continued to rage through large swaths of northern San Diego County on Thursday, May 15, 2014, threatening more homes and businesses.
Late Thursday, City of Carlsbad officials reported that crews fighting the Poinsettia Fire had discovered a burned body in a transient camp.
“During a hot spot check, firefighters were alerted to a transient encampment in the area of Ambrosia and Calliandra,” the city’s website states. “On checking the area, firefighters located a badly burned body. Further details about the deceased are unknown at this time and the investigation is ongoing.”
In Fallbrook, homes were evacuated Thursday afternoon because of the 6,000-acre Tomahawk Fire that broke out on Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook on Wednesday morning before spreading onto Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department called more than 380 contacts including homes, businesses and cell phones just before 4 p.m., advising them to evacuate. This included residents and businesses on Olive Hill Road in Fallbrook between Ladera Vista Road and South Mission Road. But by 6:30 p.m., the evacuation orders were lifted. (Questions about the fire situation may be directed to Fallbrook authorities by calling 760-723-2005.)
Also on Thursday, the Pulgas Fire threatened the southwestern portion of Camp Pendleton. It was reported at 3:15 p.m. in the Las Pulgas area and by 10 p.m., it had grown to 4,000 acres. Base officials stated that the Pulgas Fire was moving south at a moderate rate of speed, prompting evacuation orders for those in Camp Las Pulgas, Camp Margarita and the Las Flores Area.
Current Camp Pendleton brush fire evacuation and closure information can be found here. Base officials have reported no loss of structures nor any injuries from either fire. The Tomahawk Fire was previously reported as 15 percent contained.
Within San Diego County, the Cocos Fire in San Marcos had burned three homes as of Wednesday, with 5,400 people under evacuation orders in San Marcos and Escondido, west of Interstate 15 and south of Highway 78.
The blaze that started Wednesday grew to 1,200 acres as of Thursday afternoon and was 5 percent contained. At least three homes were lost to fire but there have been no reports of injuries.
“The fire continues to burn actively with strong winds,” Cal Fire stated in a report about the Cocos Fire.
Closer to southwest Riverside County, the Highway Fire in the Fallbrook/Bonsall area near Interstate 15 at Highway 76 was 500 acres and 40 percent contained.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the county, which enhances the firefighting effort with state and federal resources.
According to the City of Carlsbad—where eight homes, an apartment complex and two commercial buildings were lost to the 400-acre Poinsettia Fire on Wednesday—the fires have been combined and dubbed the San Diego Complex fire.
The first fire—the Bernardo fire southwest Rancho Bernardo—broke out Tuesday and consumed more than 1,500 acres before crews neared containment Thursday. Three injuries were reported in that fire.
Because of the fire storm, many school districts were closed Thursday.
The campus California State University, San Marcos remains closed. CSUSM rescheduled its commencement ceremonies from this weekend to next, May 24-25.
The region was asked to stay home and off the roadways to ensure traffic flowed smoothly for evacuees, firefighters and law enforcement.
Cal Fire was assisting with the firefighting effort on Camp Pendleton, and military aircraft were also being used to fight the fires within the county’s jurisdiction.
All told, at least 125,00 people reside in the areas contacted through the county-wide emergency notification system. Nearly 350 evacuees spent Wednesday night in shelters.
Investigators have not ruled out arson as a possible cause of the fires.
For up-to-date San Diego County emergency fire information, click here.
—Maggie Avants reported from Temecula.