Lilac Wildfire Affects Thousands
Last updated 12/8/2017 at 9:39am
At around 11:15 a.m., a fire engulfed over 500 acres, and has spread rapidly Dec. 7 near Fallbrook, causing threats to homes, road closures and forcing evacuations and power outages in the San Diego County area.
The blaze dubbed as the Lilac Fire occurred west of the I-15, north of Lilac Road in Pala Mesa.
Cal Fire officials said two civilians suffered burn injuries and were taken to the hospital. The extent of the injuries isn't known.
Four school districts canceled class Thursday and Friday as a precaution – Julian Union Elementary School District, Julian Union High School District, Spencer Valley School District and Warner Unified School District.
For safety reasons, San Diego Gas & Electric turned off power in numerous communities, including east and north Ramona, portions of San Diego Country Estates, La Jolla Indian Reservation/Mesa Grande/Santa Ysabel, Warner Springs, Ranchita, Borrego Springs, Shelter Valley, Palomar Mountain. Among other communities affected, as shown on the utilty’s Outage Map, are sections of Lakeside, Alpine and El Cajon. Depending on the area, SDG&E anticipates power will be restored from Thursday night to late Monday afternoon.
The fire spread quick within the first hour, growing to about 50 acres, as ground and airborne crews continued to fight and contain the blaze, Cal Fire reported. By 2:00 p.m., the flames spread to over 500 acres, and threatened thousands of homes. The strong Santa Ana winds continued to push at a dangerous rate.
San Diego County proclaimed a state of local emergency due to the fire. The proclamation, issued about three hours into the start of the fire, and make the region eligible for state and federal resources.
The California Highway Patrol closed SR-76 from Gird Road to Old Highway 395 and blocked off the latter route between West Lilac Road and SR-76, according to Cal Fire.
The cause of the blaze is not clear, but is reported to be because of the red flag wildfire warning by the National Weather Service.