Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


Update December 12, 2017  Now 95% contained, the Lilac Fire has destroyed 157 structures and damaged 64 more.  All roads are now open.

Update December 11, 2017:  The Lilac Fire is now 90% contained and all evacuation orders have been lifted.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Twitter

December 9, 2017 (San Diego) –The Lilac fire has destroyed 105 structures, injured at least five people and killed at least 46 thoroughbred race horses at the famed San Luis Rey Downs facility. 

Another 1,500 structures remained threatened today, Cal Fire reports. Firefighters are holding the fire at 4,100 acres, but full containment may take until December 21st.

The good news is that overnight, firefighters made good progress in increasing containment to 20 percent. Winds were calm this morning but picking up later in the day, with a red flag warning remaining in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday.

Highway 76 remains closed from Interstate 15 to East Vista Way.

Shelters in Carlsbad and Escondido have closed, however a shelter at Palomar College remains open.

Some residents have been allowed to return home today, but some evacuation orders remain. For the latest on evacuations today see: .

Injuries include two firefighters, one treated for smoke inhalation and the other for a dislocated shoulder; the latter returned to the line of duty a short time later to continue battling the blaze.

Three civilians have been injured, including two horse handlers who suffered serious burns attempting to rescue horses at the san Luis Rey Downs facility. Trainer Martine Bellocq is hospitalized in an induced  medical coma.

CBS reports that 46 thoroughbred race horses at San Louis died, of about 495 stabled there.  Hundreds were saved, however, some turned loose to run freely as flames encroached, others taken to the Del Mar fairground.

Power has been restored to most but not all customers across the region, but hundreds in East County remain without power as well as some north county residents, some in the path of the fire.

In a troubling story, NBC 7 reports that due to an intentional power shut-off by SDG&E aimed to prevent lines from sparking fires, one couple in Bonsall failed to receive a reverse 911 call ordering them to evacuate. By the time they saw flames reaching their property it was too late to leave, so Ed Miller fought flames with a garden home. Thankfully, they survived and their home was spared.

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.