Camp Pendleton Brush Fire in San Diego County Burns More Than 4,200 Acres

A fire burns early Thursday morning in northern San Diego County.(Cal Fire San Diego)

A brush fire erupted in north San Diego County late Wednesday and burned more than 4,200 acres overnight as flames pushed by Santa Ana winds spread toward Camp Pendleton, prompting thousands of evacuations on the Marine Corps base and in Fallbrook.

By early Thursday evening — Christmas Eve — authorities had lifted the evacuation orders, allowing families to return home, possibly in time to salvage some holiday celebrations.

No structures burned in the blaze, which was 35 percent contained Thursday evening after charring about 4,276 acres, according to Cal Fire San Diego Capt. Thomas Shoots.

The Creek fire broke out shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday off De Luz Road, roughly two miles west of Sandia Creek Drive, burning entirely on Camp Pendleton land. Gusty winds moved the blaze southwest toward hillsides that fueled the flames.

By Thursday morning, weather conditions had improved slightly, aiding the four air tankers, three water-dropping helicopters and 200 firefighters working to halt the blaze.

Firefighters from Camp Pendleton and Cal Fire San Diego stopped the fire from reaching any housing areas, the base announced on Twitter.

About 7,000 residents on the west side of Fallbrook were under an evacuation order until about 11 a.m. Thursday, when orders for some blocks were downgraded to evacuation warnings. Homes near the Alturas Street Park and in the area of De Luz Road south of Sandia Creek Drive remained under an evacuation order until that too was lifted in the late afternoon.

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SOURCE: LA Times, Alex Riggins, David Hernandez, and Gary Warth