Numerous wildfires in San Diego County

(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.

Tomahawk Fire
Tomahawk Fire, from Red Mountain at 12:24 p.m. PDT, May 14, 2014.

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.

Fire near San Marcos, screen shot from Fox 5 at 545 pm May 14, 2014
Washingtonia Fire near San Marcos, screen shot from Fox 5 at 5:45 p.m. May 14, 2014.

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.


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.

Eight fires in San Diego County, May 14, 2014

The fires that we are aware of:

  • RiverNorth 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.
  • Highwaynear 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.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

3 thoughts on “Numerous wildfires in San Diego County”

  1. Just a heads up: the government agency receiving millions to help and protect vulnerable disabled children and adults has NO emergency system in place to help evacuate or support disabled children and adults who are consumers of the San Diego Regional Center….

  2. Is there a fire in Poway near Costco on Scripps Poway Parkway or has it be contained. I could see the flames from stone bridge last night and there was still smoke today.

  3. News channel 7 — reprehensible they only covered san marcos and ignored the other areas — 8 other fires I dont want human interest stories until after all fires are out. give pertinent information. we have a small 12 acre grove on ricecanyon trying to get information. I could see 3 fires simultaneously from the windows facing west and northwest.

    also would like info on reverse 911 calls for evacuation purposes. we are new to san diego county and still have 949 orange county phone numbers. would we be contacted by address or exchange?

    frustrated and frightened in rainbow section of fallbrook

    thank you tricia

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