San Diego

Oceanside Brush Fire Sparked by Homeless Encampment

No homes were damaged and no injuries were reported

A brush fire near the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside was sparked by a suspected homeless camp's cooking fire on Sunday, the Oceanside Fire Department said.

Firefighters responded to the brush fire around 12:45 p.m. in the area between state Route 76 and San Juan Street, next to the San Luis Rey River.

The fire prompted several homes on the ridge above the fire to evacuate, fire officials said. 

"We had a slight spot up the slope running toward some homes. Fortunately the crews were able to catch it pretty quick," Specht said.

No homes were damaged and no injuries were reported.

By 3:30 p.m., crews had put out the fires and were mopping up the area.

Battalion Chief Jessamyn Specht said the half-acre brush fire was caused by a cooking fire of some sort in a homeless camp down by the riverbed.

The steep terrain surrounding the fire proved difficult for firefighters who had to drag hoses with them as they trekked up and down the hill.

"In this type of season we gotta be extra vigilant and be safe with any kind of sparks or work that you're going to do around the yard. We can't have a spark, because they will run," Specht told NBC 7.

Specht said 27 personnel responded to the fire.

Carlsbad, Vista, and Camp Pendleton Fire departments also responded to the fire.

“We’re upstaffed, we have pre-positioned units throughout the county. So we were definitely ready for this incident even though the weather in Oceanside doesn’t appear to be fire season,” Specht added.

Cal Fire San Diego warned that residents should not let their guard down despite the cooler conditions. 

A Fire Weather Watch is set to go into effect Tuesday for San Diego's mountains, valleys and inland areas. 

The watch, while not as severe as a Red Flag Warning, means that conditions will be windy, humidity will be low and temperatures will be hot enough to fuel any wildfire that sparks. 

By 10 a.m. Saturday, evacuation orders were lifted for residents. NBC 7’s Erika Cervantes is live with updates on the fire.

No other information was available.

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