Firefighters are battling a 300-acre brush fire at Camp Pendleton, the U.S. military’s Marine Corps base near San Diego, California. The fire started on the base’s campground at 6:20 pm Wednesday and was reported as being 10 or 15 acres in size. Within one hour, the fire grew to over 100 acres.
The fire continued to grow until it reached its current size of 300 acres.
Over 350 firefighters, two air tankers, and two helicopters have been deployed to battle the fire. As of 10:15 pm, the fire has not been contained, but firefighters have managed to stop its progression for the most part. Officials expect the battle to continue throughout the night.
Camp Pendleton is over 125,000 square acres in size and home to over 30,000 people, although more than 70,000 work there during the day. Officials say that the area where people live is not threatened by the fire, but considered evacuating some streets before the sun set on Wednesday.
Initially, the Orange County Fire Department reported the blaze at 400 acres. They later revised that number, and announced that they had stopped the fire at its east, west, and south ends. They continue to battle the north end of the fire. Aerial crews poured a fire retardant substance on the homes in that area to help prevent them from being caught up in the blaze if the fire reached them.
At one point, the fire even reached Camp Pendleton’s border with the city of San Clemente, but firefighters beat it back. Wind made the firefight difficult and helped spread the fire faster, in addition to sending clouds of smoke across Orange County.
Roads have been closed, including the interstate, and brush trucks brought in to combat the spreading fire.
As of 10:50 pm, officials from the fire departments said that the fire had been contained. A helpful marine layer blew in from the ocean and added much needed moisture to the battle.
The U.S. Forest Service has also provided a night-flying helicopter to battle the flames. Camp Pendleton is the main base for the U.S. Marine Corps on the west coast and, because of its rural geography, the main location for field training for all military branches on the west coast.
[Featured Image by Noah Berger/AP Images]