(Originally published at 8:50 p.m. PDT, May 14, 2014; Updated at 7:08 p.m. PDT, May 15, 2014)
On Wednesday wildland firefighters were extremely busy in southern California’s San Diego County. We are aware of eight fires that were active Wednesday.
After being desiccated off and on for weeks by hot, dry, windy weather, the vegetation was ready to burn. East and northeast Santa Ana winds on Tuesday and Wednesday pushed the fires like freight trains across the hills and through communities. By mid-afternoon on Wednesday the winds decreased, and in some areas were replaced by a slightly cooler breeze off the ocean. This caused the spread of the fires to slow, and gave firefighters a chance, aided by an aerial armada, to move in closer and work the fires.
Considering the number of fires, the dense population, and how stretched thin the fire suppression forces were due to the scope of the emergencies, a surprisingly few number of homes burned.
MT @ChristineKKTV @ericfisher: Looks like a disaster film #wildfire. RT @cGilbertRun @SDuncovered stay safe San Diego pic.twitter.com/PjpiWq52VM
— Mike Hamernik (@MikeHamernik) May 14, 2014
Below is a map that we put together showing the locations of the eight fires. The little red and yellow squares represent heat detected by a satellite.
The fires that we are aware of:
- River: North River Road and College Blvd., Oceanside. Not very large.
- Sterling: In northern San Diego County off I-15 near Old Hwy. 395. Not very large.
- Cocos (initially called Washingtonia): about 1,200 acres with 5 percent containment, at Village Dr. and Twin Oaks Rd., San Marcos area. CAL FIRE reported Thursday that three homes burned. The campus of Cal State San Marcos was evacuated. About 21,000 people have been evacuated. San Diego County is maintaining a map showing the areas that are under evacuation orders.
- Aurora or Lakeside: in the Lakeside area, east of San Diego. Not very large.
- Highway: near the intersection of Interstate 15 and SR76. It started at about 1 p.m. and by 4 p.m. had burned hundreds of acres. The final size is 380 acres with 100% containment.
- Tomahawk: CAL FIRE reported at about 8 p.m. Wednesday that the fire was 6,000 acres. It spread from the Naval Weapons Station near Fallbrook onto Camp Pendleton.
- Poinsettia: about 100 acres off Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Rd in Carlsbad; Channel 8 reported that approximately 12 homes burned.
- Bernardo: started Tuesday, May 13; it burned 1,548 acres and is 75% contained. It was not very active on Wednesday thanks to good work by firefighters and a pounding by aircraft on Tuesday.