Two fires erupted on Camp Pendleton amid dry, blisteringly hot conditions today -- one blackening scores of acres on the eastern side of the base and another charring brush along Interstate 5 and forcing a full closure of the freeway.
The first of the two blazes began spreading about 9:45 a.m. at Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, according to Camp Pendleton public affairs. As the flames quickly spread, authorities evacuated the station along with military housing in the De Luz area and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School.
The second fire broke out about 10 a.m. on the eastern side of the I-5, near Las Pulgas Road, possibly due to a fire that engulfed a truck, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Within an hour, the eastern fire had burned about 100 acres, fire officials said. Military and civilian crews battled the flames on the ground and aboard firefighting aircraft.
Within a half-hour, the other blaze had grown to about three acres, the CHP reported. By 11:30 a.m., it had jumped to the western shoulder, necessitating a closure of both sides of the freeway in the area, according to the state agency.
Rail service was suspended in the San Onofre area as of midday due to the smaller blaze, according to North County Transit District.
An unseasonable heat wave pushed temperatures into the mid- to high 90s in many parts of the county by midday.
—City News Service