California Wildfires 2014: Some Evacuations Lifted in San Diego Area

San Diego Fire

Wildfires continue to burn through Southern California. More than 9,000 acres have been burned as at least a half dozen fires continue to spread across the San Diego county.

Thousands of people in San Diego county are being forced to evacuate their homes. Wednesday night, officials issued 600 mandatory evacuation notices for San Marcos-area neighborhoods including the Elfin Forest, Indian Ridge Road and Wilgen Drive areas.

Some evacuation orders were lifted early Friday morning in San Diego County, as crews hoped milder winds, lower temperatures and higher humidity Friday would help them make further progress in containing the wildfires.

County officials said residents of two neighborhoods of San Marcos were allowed to return home on Friday. A flare-up Thursday in the north San Diego suburb prompted more than 18,000 new evacuation notices as fires burned through more tinder-dry brush on hillsides. That fire was 10 percent contained Friday morning.

San Diego Fire Map

The hardest-hit areas were in San Marcos and Carlsbad, but officials lifted evacuation orders as of late Thursday.

San Diego County had strong Santa Ana winds on Wednesday, with gusts reaching up to 50 mph, which set conditions for fires to be easily ignited, just as they were in 2003. The 2003 Cedar Fire scorched more than 437 square miles, nearly 3,000 buildings — including more than 2,000 homes — and killed 15 people before being contained.

Months of drought have made California particularly prone to fires this year. Officials say tinder-dry conditions following many months of drought – coupled with the winds and high temperatures – have left parts of the region highly combustible.

“We are no stranger to having to deal with dozens of wildfires all the time,” said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fires.

“We all have suspicions like the public does when we have nine fires that started all over the county,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said. “We are actively investigating the start of those fires.”

A 19-year-old and 17-year-old were arrested Thursday, accused of starting a pair of smaller fires in Escondido. But authorities say those fires were quickly extinguished, and authorities don’t believe there is any connection to the larger fires that remain burning.

Wildfires engulf southern California

Nine wildfires continued to cover more than 14 square miles in California, forcing thousands to flee their homes. Firefighters were contending with temperatures approaching 100F and gusty winds as they tried to contain flames fueled by brush and trees left brittle by drought.

Cocos Fire from Stone Brewing Co Roof

Filmed from 10:17am to 12:43pm, Thursday May 15, 2014. We finished capture to find we’d been evacuated at 12:30. Camera on southeast corner of Stone Packaging Hall, looking southeast. Plume of smoke on left is the Harmony Grove hotspot, the plume on right is the CSUSM hotspot.

California wildfire turns deadly, forces evacuations

A badly-burned body was found in Carlsbad, Calif. The cause of all the wildfires burning in San Diego County is still under investigation.

Firefighters still battling CA wildfires

Firefighters are still battling wildfires near San Diego in California.

California Wildfires 2014 Continue to Burn

Thousands in California evacuate as 8 wildfires continue to swiftly burn acres upon acres.

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