Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Base fire now 90% contained

 

Last updated 10/13/2008 at Noon

The Juliet Fire that ignited at about 3 p.m. Monday afternoon on Camp Pendleton, is now 90% contained, according to fire officials. The blaze, which started on the southern portion of the Base, near the San Luis Rey (Vandergrift) gate, has now consumed 4,000 acres. Shortly after the fire erupted, a second one broke out about 4 p.m., merging with the first fire within two hours.

Camp Pendleton officials have said the cause of the fire is under investigation and states that no live fire or incendiary training was being conducted in the training area at the time the blaze began.

Multiple agencies including the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Cal Fire have assisted Camp Pendleton with fire fighting equipment and 150 firefighting personnel. Cal Fire has provided two strike teams of engines (10 engines), one helicopter, two fire crews, one air tanker, and five overhead. The USFS has provided six engines, one air tanker, one helicopter, and three helicopters. The County of San Diego has provided two strike teams of local government engines – for structure protection, two Super Scoopers (that pick up water out of the ocean), and two helicopters.

On Monday evening, due to changes in the wind pattern, the fire posed significant threat to homes in the Sleeping Indian area of Fallbrook. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and North County Fire Protection District took precautionary measures and evacuated residents of Sleeping Indian Road from Conejo Road south; Wilshire Road, and all roads leading off Wilshire.

Approximately 50 homes in the Fallbrook area were evacuated for close to 24 hours. Representatives from the Sheriff's department went door to door and the ‘reverse 911’ notification system was activated in those neighborhoods.

Carmen Rodriguez, a Fallbrook resident with a private horse boarding establishment on her property on the south side of Wilshire, evacuated before the official call was made, as she had to prepare and transport 25 horses, her family and pets to safety, which took her two and a half hours to accomplish.

“I couldn't wait to see if the fire was or wasn't coming,” said Rodriguez. “If I had waited, I would not have been let back into the area to be able to transport the horses.”

Wind conditions also pushed the fire to the South, endangering homes in the North River Road area of Oceanside. The County of San Diego reported that the City of Oceanside activated their AlertSanDiego notification system to make evacuation calls to 1,025 Oceanside homes, while Camp Pendleton assumed responsibility for evacuating homes on Base.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at El Camino High School in Oceanside for evacuees, and Camp Pendleton residents displaced from their homes have been housed in the Stuart Mesa Lincoln Military Housing on base with food, water and basic toiletries being distributed to both sites.

Officials say no homes have been lost in the Juliet Fire and only one injury (to a firefighter) has been reported.

(BELOW ARE PREVIOUS UPDATES BY VILLAGE NEWS MANAGING EDITOR DEBBIE RAMSEY POSTED TO THIS WEB SITE ABOUT THE FIRE.....)

UPDATE

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 9:20 a.m.

Camp Pendleton has reported that the Juliet Fire has now consumed 3,980 acres and is 75% contained.

Battling the blaze has involved 69 fire engines, 3 bulldozers, 11 fire crews, 3 water tenders, 3 helicopters (1 of which is a helitanker), 42 overhead positions, and 679 firefighters).

No homes have been lost in the firestorm. An injury was sustained by one firefighter. Predicted weather for today is temperatures in the 90s and a wind speed of five miles per hour from the north.

Fallbrook residents in the Sleeping Indian hills area have been allowed to return to their homes, but areas on Pendleton remain evacuated due to fire hazard and damaged infrastructure.

UPDATE

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 1:05 p.m.

North County Fire has reported that portions of Sleeping Indian Road, Wilshire, and other streets evacuated in the Fallbrook area due to the Juliet Fire have now been re-opened to residents with proof of address.

"The status has been changed and residents who live in the area that has been evacuated will be allowed back on the roadways," said John Buchanan, public information officer.

Buchanan went on to explain the the command center has made the decision to open the affected roadways to the general public at 10 p.m. tonight as the fire risk has decreased.

UPDATE

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 11:35 a.m.

John Buchanan, public information officer for North County Fire has just reported that the evacuation order has not yet been lifted for approximately 50 homes in Fallbrook's Sleeping Indian area.

"A thorough assessment was just conducted and the decision was made to keep that area evacuated during the day today," Buchanan said. "Another assessment will take place at 6 p.m. tonight and we will advise residents if any can return at that time."

The Juliet Fire, which has burned 3,000 acres on Camp Pendleton, and caused the threat to the Fallbrook homes, started yesterday at approximately 3 p.m. and is only 25% contained.

At this time, the evacuation order for some areas of northern Oceanside have been lifted, but fire officials still feel there is too much risk to lift the order for the Sleeping Indian area.

UPDATE

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 8:25 a.m.

North County Fire has reported that the Juliet Fire on Camp Pendleton remains 25% contained as wind conditions "cooperated" through the night.

The fire threat in Fallbrook's Sleeping Indian area has subsided and officials are currently in the process of reassessing the level of concern for the area.

"It looks like residents that were evacuated may be allowed back in within the hour; but we don't have an official order yet," said NCFPD's John Buchanan.

Bonsall Union School District officials say Bonsall West Elementary School will be closed today.

See previous information.

UPDATE

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 6 a.m.

Authorities report that the Juliet Fire on Camp Pendleton has consumed 3,000 acres and is now 25% contained.

Firefighters have worked steadily through the night to make headway towards extinguishing the fire that has threatened homes on Base as well as some 1,500 nearby homes in Oceanside and approximately 50 homes off Sleeping Indian Road in Fallbrook.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but Camp Pendleton officials have confirmed that there were no live fire or incendiary training being conducted in the Juliet training area when the blaze began.

Camp Pendleton says all mililtary personnel and civilian employees should report to work on schedule today and allow extra time for heavy traffic. The Vandergrift gate remains closed but all others are open. All schools on Base are open as well, except for certain child development centers. Call the Base hotline for information on those centers at (760) 725-9045.

No homes have been lost in the firestorm and no injuries have been sustained.

North County Fire Protection District will provide an update for Fallbrook residents at approximately 7:30 a.m. New assessments are being made as to when evacuated residents may be able to return to their homes.

UPDATE

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 12:15 a.m.

North County Fire PRotection District has just reported that Fallbrook residents evacuated from their homes on Sleeping Indian Road in select neighborhoods may be allowed back in their homes in a relatively short time.

"We are constantly reassessing the fire threat every few hours and if conditions continue to improve as hoped, these residents may be allowed back into their homes later today (Tuesday)," said John Buchanan, public information officer. "As soon as it is safe enough to do so, people will be allowed back in."

Buchanan said conditions earlier were so volatile that authorities were concerned for the safety of residents in those neighborhoods but weather conditions have begun to improve through the night.

As of this writing, no homes have been lost on Camp Pendleton, in Oceanside or Fallbrook. Close to 1,500 homes in Oceanside and 50 in Fallbrook have been evacuated due to the fire, as well as an undisclosed number on Base.

Bonsall West Elementary School Librarian Mishell Rose contacted the Village News and said, "Bonsall West Elementary School is closed on Tuesday, Oct. 14 due to the Juliet Fire. Principal Eric Kosch sent a recorded message to all Bonsall West families late [Monday] evening."

Camp Pendleton employees can call a hotline established to field questions regarding reporting for work, etc. Call (760) 725-9045.

Read previous information below. Watch this Web site for updates. Provided conditions remain the same or continue to improve, fire authorities say the next update will be available between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m.

UPDATE

Monday, Oct. 13, 10:15 p.m.

North County Fire Protection District has reported that a decision has been made to evacuate homes located in certain parts of Sleeping Indian Road due to a change in wind and increasing danger from a fire that has now burned about 1,200 acres on Camp Pendleton.

"We are evacuating homes on Sleeping Indian from Conejo Road south; Wilshire Road and all roads that lead off Wilshire," said NCFPD's John Buchanan.

Buchanan said the Sheriff's Dept will begin making door-to-door contacts in these areas and that the County has been asked to activate the Reverse 911 notification system in those neighborhoods.

"I believe we are talking about approximately 50 homes that they are going to evacuate," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said the decision to evacuate the homes was a safety precaution, not that the homes are in imminent danger.

Some area residents have told the Village News that fire engines are strategically placed near homes on Sleeping Indian Road.

Approximately 1,500 homes in northern Oceanside have been evacuated due to the fire. The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at El Camino High School in Oceanside.

***No homes have been lost at this time on Camp Pendleton, in Oceanside or Fallbrook due to the fire.***

Camp Pendleton just issued the following summary:

"Federal, state, local and military firefighting agencies continue to fight the brush fire that started at approximately 3:00 p.m. today in the Juliet Training Area here. The cause of the fire is unknown, but no live fire or incendiary training was being conducted.

The fire forced the evacuation of the Serra Mesa and San Luis Rey Housing Areas. Upwards of 2,000 personnel were impacted.

The Juliet fire, which is currently being fought under a joint command of Camp Pendleton Fire and the Oceanside Fire Department, has burned approximately 1,200 acres on Camp Pendleton.

“There has been a well coordinated effort to fight this fire,” said Col. James B. Seaton III, Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “This is a great example of the effectiveness of the robust mutual aid agreements between Camp Pendleton and civilian agencies.”

Back-burning operations are currently underway to attempt to tie the Juliet fire into the burn area of last week’s November fire.

As of this report, no deaths or injuries have been reported, and no structures have been destroyed.

“The muscular effort displayed in fighting this fire is a testament to the San Diego County leadership and their thorough preparations for the fire season,” said Seaton. “The rapid, robust air attack by civilian firefighting aircraft and ground crews saved homes aboard Camp Pendleton.”

Special information for Camp Pendleton residents:

"Camp Pendleton residents displaced from their homes should report to the Stuart Mesa Lincoln Military Housing Office, Building 310001 in Camp Pendleton’s 31 Area. The Paige Field House, in the 11 Area, is serving as initial collection point only.

Stuart Mesa Housing is accepting displaced residents, and an American Red Cross site has been established there, and is distributing food, water, and basic toiletries. The exchanges in Stuart Mesa and Del Mar are also extending their hours until 2200.

The San Luis Rey Gate is currently closed, as is the section of Vandergrift Blvd. from the San Luis Rey Gate to Rattlesnake Canyon Rd.

Camp Pendleton residents can refer to the Base Web site, at http://www.pendleton.usmc.mil. In addition, Camp Pendleton personnel looking for information on their work schedules for Tuesday should also refer to the Base Web site or their Battalion command. When a decision has been reached, it will be posted on these resources.

See previous coverage for more information. Watch the Village News Web site for updates.

UPDATE

Monday, Oct. 13, 7:45 p.m.

North County Fire has reported that the Camp Pendleton fire, now named the Juliet Fire, has consumed approximately 1,200 acres is continuing to burn to the South, toward Oceanside. Approximately 15 fire engines have been lined up along Sleeping Indian Road, where a fire break has been established, in the event fire suppression is required on the Fallbrook line. Sleeping Indian Road has been closed from Burma Road to Oceanside.

John Buchanan, public information officer for NCFPD, advises Fallbrook/Bonsall residents on Sleeping Indian Road to be prepared for evacuation if the need arises. Buchanan said Sleeping Indian would ONLY be evacuated if the wind changes direction.

"It's close, but as long as the wind stays the way it is, it is favorable to [Fallbrook]," Buchanan said.

See more information below.

UPDATE

Monday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m.

North County Fire Chief Bill Metcalf reports that the 500-acre brush fire burning on Camp Pendleton has reached but not crossed a fire break established along the Sleeping Indian Road area of Fallbrook.

Metcalf says that current wind conditions are pushing the fire to the South, endangering the North River Road area of Oceanside currently.

Reports are coming in that Bonsall West Elementary School was evacuated, but that is as yet unconfirmed with officials.

The County of San Diego has reported that the City of Oceanside has activated their AlertSanDiego notification system to call 1,025 homes for mandatory evacuations. In addition, Camp Pendleton has evacuated homes on the base. The Sheriff’s Department has 31 deputies responding to assist on Camp Pendleton.

The fire is comprised of two separate fires that began on Base between 3 and 4 p.m. and converged into one about 5 p.m.

Numerous agencies are assisting Camp Pendleton.

UPDATE

Monday, Oct. 13, 5 p.m.

It has now been reported that two brush fires are underway on Camp Pendleton and have consumed more than 300 acres.

The fires are in close proximity to each other and will probably burn together shortly and are being treated as one fire.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Cal Fire are now assisting Camp Pendleton with fire fighting equipment and 150 firefighting personnel.

Cal Fire has sent 2 strike teams of engines (10 engines), 1 helicopter, 2 fire crews, 1 airtanker, and 5 overhead. The USFS has provided 6 engines, 1 airtanker, 1 helicopter, and 3 overhead

County of San Diego has provided 2 strike teams of local government engines – for structure protection, 2 Super Scoopers, and 2 overhead

North County Fire says the fire has not jumped the fire break into Fallbrook.

The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services wishes to remind residents they can get up-to-date fire information by calling 2-1-1.

UPDATE

Monday, October 13, 4:50 p.m.

North County Fire has reported that the Camp Pendleton fire has consumed 75 acres and has now reached the fire break to Fallbrook's Sleeping Indian area. Residents in the Sleeping Indian area have been told to prepare themselves for evacuation in the event it becomes necessary.

NCFPD Chief Bill Metcalf reports that although the fire has reached the fire break (Fallbrook line), the winds are currently "cooperating" so as to keep the fire from jumping the line.

Oceanside Police Department has issued a mandatory evacuation for streets near Alexandrine Court and Papagallo Court, as the threat is imminent in that area. The American Red Cross has established an evacuation center in Oceanside at El Camino High School, 400 Rancho Del Oro Dr, Oceanside, CA 92057.

Two County SuperScoopers are assisting with the firefighting effort.

The Sheriff’s Department has been requested to provide staff to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

UPDATE

Monday, Oct. 13, 3:55 p.m.

Camp Pendleton Fire reports that the fire is completely on the Marine Corps Base and located in the Southern portion near the San Luis Rey (Vandergrift) gate.

Some news sources are saying some housing developments on Papagallo Road and Alexandrine Court are at risk, but officials on Base say no structures are being threatened. However, horses located in a riding area on Base have been temporarily moved.

Fire officials say they will provide another update for Village News readers/Fallbrook residents at 4:15 p.m.

The Sheriff's Fallbrook Substation has set up a command post on Sleeping Indian Road just as a precautionary meaure.

Camp Pendleton now promises update at 4:40 p.m.

FIRST NEWS UPDATE

Monday, Oct. 13, 3:15 p.m.

At approximately 3 p.m. today, Monday, October 13, residents in the area of Sleeping Indian and Wilshire reported they could see flames from a fire.

North County Fire has informed the Village News that the fire is on Camp Pendleton and burning toward the west. Public Information Officer John Buchanan said homes in the Fallbrook area are not at risk at this time.

 

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