BONSALL, Calif. – A fast-moving brush fire destroyed buildings as it burned out of control south of Fallbrook, near Bonsall along Interstate 15 near state Route 76.
The fire, dubbed the “Lilac Fire,” started around 11:15 a.m. Thursday and thick smoke was seen for miles. The fire had blackened 4,100 acres by 8 p.m., Cal Fire reported.
At least 65 structures had been destroyed by fire by Friday morning. Several thousand other buildings are being menaced by the fire.
#LilacFire [update] Firefighters continue to make progress & assess damage. The fire remains 4,100 acres & 0% contained. At least 65 structures have been destroyed.
— CAL FIRE/SAN DIEGO COUNTY FIRE (@CALFIRESANDIEGO) December 8, 2017
Four residents sustained burn injuries as they were evacuating their home, Cal Fire said. They were being treated at local hospitals, but their conditions were not immediately known. Two firefighters had been injured. One suffered smoke inhalation and the other sustained a dislocated shoulder.
The fire was still spreading uncontrolled through the communities of Bonsall, Fallbrook and Vista, and it was being pushed towards Oceanside and Camp Pendleton by fierce Santa Ana winds, authorities said.
About 500 firefighters from multiple local agencies were battling the blaze, Cal Fire said. Two helicopters continued making water drops after dark, and the Navy has agreed to mobilize military helicopter crews to fight the fire on Friday.
California Highway Patrol officers blocked some traffic along I-15, Old Highway 395 and SR-76.
North County Fire Protection District, Cal Fire and other firefighters from around San Diego County were battling the blaze, using several helicopters, bulldozers and air tankers.
Wind gusts were blowing in a northeast direction were as strong as 51 mph on SR-76 in Pala Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
The fire has prompted mandatory evacuations west of I-15 and near Old Highway 395, according to North County Fire Protection District spokesman John Buchanan. (Scroll down to see latest details in the live blog.)
Dozens of structures were destroyed and 1,000 buildings are threatened, according to Cal Fire.
San Diego County officials are encouraging evacuated people with livestock to take animals to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Anyone needing assistance with evacuations should call the County Animal Services at 619- 236-2341.