Camp Pendleton Fire Forces Evacuations

A brush fire blackened hundreds of acres in the southeastern reaches of Camp Pendleton Monday afternoon, forcing evacuations in base housing areas and neighborhoods in nearby Oceanside, authorities said.

At 8:45 p.m. Monday, fire officials ordered several streets in Bonsall evacuated. They are Conejo Rd., Wilshire Rd., Caroline Lane parts of Sleeping Indian Road. The neighborhood is immediately North of an area in the city of Oceanside evacuated earlier. More than 1,000 home have been evacuated so far.

The blaze -- the second to erupt on the grounds of the Marine Corps base in less than a week -- began spreading amid dry, moderately breezy conditions about 3 p.m., according to Cal Fire.

Within an hour, the flames had spread over "75-plus" acres, and by 5 p.m. the burn area had grown to more than 500 acres, said Nick Schuler, a captain with the state agency.

By 8 p.m., the number of acres burned had grown to 1,500, according to CalFire spokeswoman, Roxanne Provaznik.

Schuler said he had received no reports of structural damage.

Authorities cleared all residents out of several base housing areas around Vandegrift Boulevard and from homes along Alexandrine Court and Papagallo Drive in Oceanside.

Cal Fire sent engines and aircraft to help military personnel and crews from several area municipal fire departments fight the blaze, Schuler said.

Among the airplanes attacking the flames were two Bombardier CL-415 "Super Scoopers," large craft that skim available bodies of water -- in this case, the nearby ocean -- to fill the tanks they use to fight fires.

Last week's blaze broke out Wednesday and blackened about 1,500 acres in a remote part of the base, but resulted in no structural damage or evacuations.

Late Monday evening, Marine Corps officials said the cause of the fire remains unknown but there were no live fire exercises underway when the fire broke out.

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