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Wildfire on Camp Pendleton’s western side only 5 percent contained, evacuations in effect

By Andrea Papagianis, Updated: 5/16/2014 at 11:15 a.m.

Military and regional fire crews are battling two blazes on Camp Pendleton today that have scorched thousands of acres over the last two days.

A fire first reported around 3 p.m. Thursday in the western region of Camp Pendleton has grown to 8,000 acres burned, base officials confirmed Friday. The wildfire, known as the Pulgas Fire, is 5 percent contained, officials said.

The fire has prompted the closure of the Las Pulgas Gate off Interstate 5 to all traffic.

Authorities have also closed Basilone Road, on base southeast of San Clemente, to north- and south-bound traffic and have evacuated Camp Las Pulgas, Camp Margarita, Camp Las Flores and 32 Area, according to the Camp Pendleton Scout Facebook page.

As of 11 a.m., base officials announced all non-essential personnel would be release from duty at noon due to the emergency situation.

The Camp Pendleton Fire Department is working in coordination with Cal Fire and North County, Orange County and Oceanside fire departments to battle the fires, among others, said base spokesman Sgt. Christopher Duncan. Camp Pendleton is also working in coordination with Cal Fire to support firefighting efforts throughout San Diego County, he said.

On the camp’s eastern border with Fallbrook, crews are still fighting a blaze that has spread to 6,300 acres, Duncan confirmed. The fire is 23 percent contained.

The Tomahawk Fire broke out Wednesday about 9:45 a.m., prompting the evacuation of housing developments, offices and schools.

Residents of the base’s De Luz housing development and personnel from the weapons station were ordered to evacuate Wednesday. Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School, O’Neill Heights Housing and the De Luz Child Development Center, all on base, were also evacuated.

Paige Field House, in the base’s southern corridor near Oceanside, served as the evacuation site, where approximately 890 evacuees reported Wednesday. While schools remained closed Friday, some residents were able to return to their homes.

There are currently no reports of casualties or structural damages in either fire. Causes of the Tomahawk and Las Pulgas fires are under investigation.

Stay with us for updates and visit Cal Fire for current fire statuses.

Smoke Advisory for Orange County

A smoke advisory has been issued for all of Orange County and portions for Los Angeles and Riverside counties, according to a press release from the South Coast Air Quality Management District

Due to the wildfires burning in San Diego County and wind pushing the smoke north, air quality could reach “unhealthy” levels for “sensitive groups,” the release said. The district is urging residents to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary outdoor activities in areas directly impacted by smoke.

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