CARLSBAD, Calif. — Firefighters worked through the night, cutting containment lines around 60 percent of a wind-driven brush fire that forced thousands of evacuations and destroyed more than two dozen residential units in Carlsbad, officials said Thursday morning.
About 300 firefighters were working Thursday to complete the containment line around the fire, Carlsbad Fire Department Chief Mike Davis said. The eastern area of the fire was still not controlled, but crews had prevented the fire from growing, Davis said.
The so-called Poinsettia Fire broke out for unknown reasons shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday near Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road, just east of El Camino Real. Winds quickly pushed the flames about 400 acres and west toward neighborhoods and some high-tech businesses.
An 18-unit apartment complex, four single family homes and two commercial structures were destroyed Wednesday, Carlsbad Fire Department Chief Mike Davis said. Six other homes and two vehicles were damaged, he said. The damage was estimated at $22.5 million.
The damage could have been much worse, Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall said. The joint effort by firefighters from Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos saved hundreds of homes, he said.
Neighborhoods along Aviara Parkway and Black Rail Road sustained most of the damage, the chief said. No injuries were reported.
Authorities initially issued 15,000 evacuation notices to residents west of El Fuerte Road, south of Palomar Airport Road and north of Aviara Parkway. Evacuation orders remain in effect for those living inside the burn area, Davis said. All other residents can return to their homes, he said.
All hotels near the airport on Palomar Airport Road are also open, according to city officials.
City officials said all city parks will be closed Thursday, with the exception of Dove and Cole Libraries and the Senior Center.
Temporary shelters for the displaced were set up at Calavera Hills Community Center, 2997 Glasgow Drive, and at La Costa Canyon High School, 1 Maverick Way. Pets are only allowed at La Costa Canyon High.
City officials said both shelters were fully stocked and need neither donations nor additional volunteers.
The fire was close to McClellan-Palomar Airport, but flight operations were not significantly affected Wednesday, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Aircraft were being directed around the smoke, he said.
Legoland California was evacuated as a safety precaution because of electrical power surges, officials said.
Fire-related road closures that remained in effect early today included Aviara Parkway from Ambrosia Lane to El Camino Real; El Camino Real from Alga to Palomar Airport Road; Camino Vide Robles from Palomar Airport Road to El Camino Real; Poinsettia Lane from Black Rail Road to El Camino Real; Palomar Oaks Way; and Cassia Road.
The blaze came amid a heat wave that was pushing temperatures well into the 90s along the coast. Winds, however, were not as strong as on Tuesday, when a wildfire charred 1,548 acres between 4S Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe.