By Miriam Raftery
Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News
Update December 8, 2017 8:45 a.m.: Cal Fire reports the fire has burned 65 structures but remains at 4,100 acres. Evacuation orders now extend west to Camp Pendleton. Four civilian injuries and two firefighter injuries have occurred.
December 7, 2017 (San Diego) – Governor Jerry Brown has issued an emergency declaration over the Lilac Hills Fire, which has scorched over 4,100 acres in the Fallbrook-Bonsall area. The County has also declared an emergency.
The devastating blaze is burning southwest and is still zero percent contained. It started at 11:15 a.m. west of I-15 and north of Lilac Road on the Pala Mesa.
By this evening, at least 20 homes have burned, County Emergency Services reports. That includes numerous residences in the Rancho Manserate Country Club community. An estimated 5,000 more residences are threatened. Two people suffered burns and have been taken to a hospital.
Dozens of horses have died including many at the San Luis Rey training center, Times of San Diego reports. In Bonsall, numerous horses were let loose, running wildly through billowing smoke, a photo posted by Horses so Fine on Instagram states, adding, “Pray for them.” Community volunteers have come forward to help save many horses and the Del Mar Fairgrounds has opened facilities for livestock including horses.
State Route 76 is closed from I-15 to Camino del Rey. Old Highway 395 is also closed from I-15 to Highway 76/Pala Road. The offramp at I-15 south to 395 is also shut down.
A Fox-5 news crew on the scene is documenting whirling “tornadoes of fire” and embers fueled by 40 mile per hour winds.
Be vigilant overnight due to potential for new fires as Santa Ana winds continue. Keep your phone by your bedside to hear evacuation alerts and keep a window partially open so you can smell smoke if a fire approaches. It’s wise to park a vehicle outside so you can swiftly escape if power goes out and disables automatic garage doors.
Cal State San Marcos has cancelled classes for tomorrow. Numerous school closures, not only n the fire area but in high-wind areas countywide, have been announced including:
- Bonsall Unified School District
- Fallbrook Union Elementary School District
- Fallbrook Union High School District
- Julian Union Elementary School District
- Julian Union High School District
- Mountain Empire Unified School District
- Oceanside Unified School District
- Spencer Valley School District
- Vista Unified School District
- Warner Unified School District
Mandatory Evacuations in the area of W. Lilac Rd. & Sullivan Middle School. South of Burma Rd. East of Wilshire North of N. River Rd. West of S. Mission Ave
New evacuation orders:
South of Renche Rd., West of I-15 Freeway, East of Green Canyon Rd. & S. Mission Rd., North of Hwy 76
Wvacuation Warnings are in effect: North of Pala Rd. South of Reche Rd. West of I-15 Freeway East of Green Canyon Rd. & W. Mission Rd.
- Fallbrook High School (2400 S Stage Coach Ln., Fallbrook)
- Pala Casino (11157 Highway 76, Pala)
- East Valley Community Center (2245 E Valley Pkwy., Escondido)
- Stagecoach Community Park (3420 Camino de Los Coches, Carlsbad)