Multiple fires threaten San Diego area in early start to season

Evacuations Lifted in Oceanside Fire

The fire has damaged at least one structure

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    NEWSLETTERS

     A brush fire prompted evacuations of homes and a school in Oceanside as officials struggled for resources across San Diego County's many wildfires

    The fire broke out in the San Luis Rey River riverbed, east of College Boulevard, at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Dry brush and heavy vegetation have pushed the flames to the north and south sides of the river, growing to 100 acres. 

    Oceanside officers went door to door and used a PA system to ask residents inside 100 homes to voluntarily evacuate along Andrew Jackson Street, Stallion Drive, Tyler Road and Leon Street.

    All those evaucations have since been lifted.

    The Melba Bishop Recreation Center also evacuated its youth programs, and parents can pick up their children at Luiseno Park at Douglas and Vandegrift.  

    Del Rio Elementary was put under voluntary evacuation at 1:15 p.m. and the Libby Lake Resource Center was shut down.

    North River Road was closed for hours from Sleeping Indian to College Boulevard.

    The Oceanside Unified School District announced Wednesday afternoon that schools will be closed Thursday.

    Airborne ash caused significant damage to one home on Andrew Jackson Street. Another on the same road had minor damage due to the embers.  

    As fire crews continue to battle the blaze, they are faced with a lack of resources being stretched thin among the seven large fires that popped up in the North County. 

    Firefighters say they need an air-drop, but air support is not available. Moving forward, they are concerned that the fire has a greater potential to grow instead of burn out as it makes the turn north toward Fallbrook. 

    Crews from Orange County were called in to assist the Oceanside firefighters, who decided to use a public works' bulldozer to get rid of dry vegetation at the river's bottom.

    They planned to clear a roughly 20-foot "fire break." When the brush was cleared, they were going to ignite the side that's closest to the impending fire in hopes that the fuels will have burned away before the main blaze can spread. 

    However, things did not go as planned.

    "The terrain is really bad, and getting that dozer in there -- we have canopies and trees 20 to 50-feet high -- trying to get around those, and then as we got to progressing that dozer line, what happened was that the dozer ended up breaking down," said Battalion Chief Joe Ward.

    But Ward told NBC 7 they are not giving up on the strategy. They plan to get the bulldozer up and running as soon as possible, and meanwhile, they'll try to contain the fire to the middle of the riverbed.

     

    Crews kept a sharp eye out for flying embers, which have caused half a dozen hotspots -- sometimes across the road. 

    As he was being evacuated, Oceanside resident Ryan Cowen shot a video that shows three plumes of smoke burning around the North County. 

     

     

    Check back for more details on this breaking news. 

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