Helped by cooler temperatures and calmer winds, firefighters on Saturday continued battling four major brush fires in northern San Diego County: one in San Marcos and three on military bases.
More than 27,000 acres have been burned since Tuesday as fire erupted in multiple locations in the region.
Of 10 major blazes, homes were lost in two: the Poinsettia fire in Carlsbad, where eight single-family homes and an 18-unit apartment building were destroyed, and the Cocos fire in San Marcos, where up to 12 single-family homes were destroyed, along with 25 structures at the Harmony Grove Spiritualist Assn.
The two largest fires are on military bases: the 15,000-acre Las Pulgas fire at Camp Pendleton and the 6,500-acre Tomahawk fire on the adjacent Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook.
Both fires forced evacuations but neither damaged any structures, Marine officials said.
A third military-base fire, an 800-acre fire at Camp Pendleton variously named the Combat fire, the Talega fire, and now the San Mateo fire also forced evacuations.
The Cocos fire, which spread into Escondido, Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest, is now reported as 2,520 acres and 70% contained.
Aircraft assigned in recent days to drop water on the Cocos fire are now being released to fight the military base fires, Cal-Fire said. But the number of firefighters throughout the region is not expected to decrease.
"We're not going to de-mob[ilize] any resources until we get full containment," said Cal-Fire Capt. Josh Janssen.
Some evacuation orders for the Cocos fire and the military fires have been lifted, but others remain in place.
In Carlsbad, the medical examiner has not yet determined the identity or cause of death of a "badly burned" body found in a transient encampment in a brushy area scorched by the Poinsettia fire.
Three persons have been arrested on arson charges — two in Escondido and one in Oceanside — but authorities said they were not suspected of involvement in the larger blazes.
Of the major fires, a cause has only been determined for one. Investigators determined that the 1,550-acre Bernardo fire was started by a backhoe at a construction site.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times