380-Acre ‘Highway Fire' in Fallbrook, Bonsall Area Threatens Homes

This blaze, in the Bonsall and Fallbrook area, sparked near homes off I-15 and SR-76

Update as of Thursday, 6:30 p.m.:

  • 380 acres
  • 100 percent contained
  • No homes destroyed or damaged
  • Started: Old Hwy 395 north of White Lilac
  • Heavy fuels have not burned since Gopher Canyon Fire (1970)

Yet another brush fire sparked in San Diego’s North County Wednesday amid hot, dry conditions – one of multiple fires burning simultaneously in the county.

This blaze – in the Bonsall and Fallbrook area – burned at Interstate 15 and State Route 76, near Old Highway 395 and Dulin Road. By 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the 380-acre fire was 100 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

At a media briefing, Sheriff Bill Gore said deputies had issued approximately 600 evacuation notices to residents in the Bonsall and Fallbrook area. Fallbrook High School, located at 2400 South Stage Coach Lane, was established as the area evacuation center.

Officials said large animals evacuated in this area can be taken to Oceanside Ivy Ranch at 110 Rancho Del Oro in Oceanside, Cloverdale Ranch at 2460 Cloverdale Road in Escondido or Warner Ranch at 10950 Pala Road in Pala.

An AlertSanDiego message initially went out to more than 1,600 phone numbers.

By 8:45 p.m., officials said evacuated residents were allowed to return home. The temporary evacuation site at Fallbrook High School was closed for the night.

At 10:45 p.m., county officials announced the evacuation notice issued for the Highway Fire along Old Highway 395 and I-15 in Bonsall had been lifted. 

Sam Curreri was among those Fallbrook residents evacuated in the afternoon. He was extremely worried about leaving his home behind.

"You've got mementos in there, you've got pictures, you've got clothes. I may only walk out of here with what I've got on, right?" Curreri told NBC 7.

In the thick of Wednesday’s wildfires, the County of San Diego proclaimed a local emergency. The proclamation, signed at 1:25 p.m., requests that the California Governor proclaim a state of emergency in the County.

By proclaiming the emergency, the County can more easily access state and federal resources as needed to help in fighting the fires. The proclamation states that more than 20 structures, including homes, have been destroyed.

As for the Highway Fire, officials said it was burning in medium fuel and was moving rapidly. It's burning near homes, so some structures are threatened, but no homes have been damaged.

The first evacuations in the area began around 12:50 p.m. with mandatory evacuations for Sullivan Middle School and Rawhide Ranch. Bonsall Elementary School was under precautionary evacuation as well, due to its proximity to the blaze.

County officials said residents who live off West Lilac Road, west of the I-15 are also threatened by this blaze. They were advised to evacuate immediately.

County of San Diego officials said the San Diego County Sheriff's Department made reverse 911 phone calls to residents around 1:20 p.m. telling them to evacuate to the Park and Ride at Highway 76 and Old Highway 395.

Richard Cordova of Cal Fire said that in addition to a full response from local fire crews, crews from Central California are mobilizing to help battle this Bonsall blaze. These resources include five engines, two air tankers and two helicopters.

Cordova said that no resources from the Bernardo Fire are being pulled to fight the Bonsall Fire at this time. That could change as conditions shift, however.

San Diego is currently under a fire weather warning, according to the National Weather Service.

Click here for a map of the wildfires burning in the county, which include the Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad, the Tomahawk Fire in Camp Pendleton, a fire in Oceanside, a fire in Escondido and the Bernardo Fire, which sparked Tuesday.

Stay with NBC 7 for updates on the Highway Fire, as well as the other fires burning in the county.

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