A San Diego County wildfire has forced the evacuation of Camp Pendleton. Authorities said the brush fire started at around 9:45 am. Within hours, the blaze spread to cover more than 100 acres. Officials said the Naval Weapons Station, Fallbrook housing complex, and the Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School, were evacuated to the Paige Fieldhouse.
A representative with the California Highway Patrol confirmed that the fire started on a semi truck, which was traveling on Interstate 5. The blaze quickly spread to dry brush, which is located along the northern Camp Pendleton coast.
Authorities said it is unclear what started the fire. Investigators are currently on scene to determine the cause of the blaze. As reported by Seattle Pi, the highway patrol has closed several lanes of traffic along the interstate. However, one lane in each direction will remain open.
The region is currently under a red flag warning, due to high temperatures, strong winds, and dry conditions. Officials said the weather and dry vegetation have contributed to the intensity of the San Diego County wildfire. At this time, Camp Pendleton reports a temperature of 94 degrees with humidity of 4 percent. Wind gusts are currently reaching up to 30 miles per hour.
NBC News explains that no injuries have been reported, as the fire has not reached any buildings. Sergeant Matt Klopp said the blaze is covering “pretty much just open grass.” At this point, the San Diego County wildfire has not shifted toward the base.
The Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base has a rich and interesting history. Beginning in 1769, the location was the used a base for at least 21 Franciscan missions. However, as part of a land grant, the “Rancho Santa Margarita” was awarded to a private owner in 1841.
Although the owner’s descendants maintained the land for more than 41 years, they were forced to sell following a streak of bad weather and bad luck. By the 1900’s the land was jointly owned by James Flood and Richard O’Neill. As the land was developed into a successful cattle ranch, the men eventually profited nearly $500,000 per year.
In 1942, the land was purchased by the United States Marine Corps for more than $4 million, becoming the largest Marine Corps base in the US.
Camp Pendleton currently contains more than 2,600 buildings, including the historical homestead. Although the San Diego County wildfire has not reached any buildings, officials have ordered evacuations as a precaution.
[Image via Acclaim Images]