22,000 Acres Burned in Las Pulgas Fire, Tomahawk Fire, Talega Fire

Three separate fires on and near Camp Pendleton, now known as the Basilone Complex, have scorched nearly 22,000 acres or 18 percent of the base, according to Marine Corps officials.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos arrived at Camp Pendleton Sunday. Gen. Amos thanked the firefighters who kept the Basilon Complex under control, including the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing from Miramar that dropped more than 540,000 gallons of water on fires across San Diego County last week, according to officials.

Life on Camp Pendleton is starting to return to normal. By Sunday, all evacuations had been lifted and all roads had reopened.

The most recent fire – first dubbed the “Talega Fire, then the  "Combat Fire" and later the "San Mateo Fire" by officials – started around 11:25 a.m. Friday off Interstate 5 at Basilone Road.

As of 7:30 p.m. Sunday, officials said the Combat Fire had burned 1,500 acres and was 97 percent contained.

The Combat Fire forced all personnel in the 62 Area, San Onofre Housing Area and School of Infantry West (SOI-W) to evacuate Friday morning.

On Friday night, the evacuation order for San Onofre Housing residents was lifted. On Saturday morning, the School of Infantry-West (52 Area) evacuation order was lifted. Evacuation orders for Camp San Mateo (62 Area), Camp Las Pulgas (43 Area), Camp Las Flores (41 Area), Camp Margarita (33 Area), Marine Air Support Squadron 3 (32 Area) and Camp Vado Del Rio (25 Area) remained in effect until Saturday night, when the Commanding General gave the all clear.

The golf course and paintball park were scheduled to reopen Sunday. All Child Development Centers on base will be open Monday.

The two other fires burning on and near the base are the Las Pulgas Fire and Tomahawk Fire.

The Las Pulgas Fire, first reported at 3:15 p.m. Thursday near northbound I-5 and Las Pulgas Road, had grown to 15,000 acres by Saturday. As of Sunday night, the fire was listed at 75 percent containment.

That fire now dwarfs the earlier Tomahawk Fire, which has been downgraded to 5,400 acres burned. This fire started at Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday. The Tomahawk Fire spread to Camp Pendleton and the city of Fallbrook, prompting brief evacuations along Olive Hill Road. Officials reported Sunday night that the fire was 100 percent contained.

Officials say no spot fires remain in the Tomahawk Fire and mop-up operations are continuing. No structures are being threatened. So far, it appears two uninhabited storage sheds sustained damage. However, base officials said there is no damage to homes or structures associated with munitions handling or storage.

Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook will return to normal operations Monday. Ammunition Road was closed Sunday, but is scheduled to reopen at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Officials expect some traffic congestion Monday morning.

One Camp Pendleton Fire Department firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and was treated.

The causes of all three fires are under investigation.

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