Brush fire ignites near Cal State San Marcos: 450 acres burned

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - A hillside fire damaged or destroyed several buildings and blackened about 450 acres south of state Route 78 on Wednesday, prompting evacuations for about 21,600 residents in surrounding areas and at nearby Cal State San Marcos.

The blaze erupted for unknown reasons in the area of Cocos Drive about 3:45 p.m. As of about 10:30 p.m., Cal Fire officials said it was 0 percent contained. 

At least five structures have been destroyed and two structures damaged by the so-called Cocos Fire, according to Cal Fire. Crews were working to protect other structures in the fire areas, city officials said.

Campus administrators cleared everyone off the university campus. The campus will remain closed through Friday and this weekend's commencement ceremonies have been canceled, according to university officials.

Deputies evacuated residents from the all neighborhoods south of San Marcos Boulevard, including Coronado Hills, Discovery Hills, Discovery Meadows, Lake San Marcos and North San Elijo Hills.

About 600 additional mandatory evacuation notices were later issued in the San Marcos area. Those affected are in Elfin Forest, and in the Indian Road, Crestwind Road, Wilgen Drive and De Loma Drive areas, according to county officials.

Those displaced by the blaze were being directed to Mission Hills High School, 1 Mission Hills Court. Another shelter at San Marcos Middle School has been closed.

Students from campus housing or those without transportation will be bused to the evacuation site at Mission Hills High School.

Evacuation map provided by the city of San Marcos: http://bit.ly/1mWol89

The off-ramp from eastbound SR-78 to Twin Oaks Valley Road was shut down, but the highway remained open, according to county officials.

Officials plan to provide an update on the fire during a briefing at Cal State San Marcos scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

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