Evacuations largely lifted at Pendleton

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. Marine Cpl. Priscilla Vitale says the fire scorched 3,950 acres and was 60 percent contained Tuesday.

Vitale says no homes on the base have been destroyed or damaged.

Vitale says a smaller fire that burned about 100 acres Tuesday, forcing the closure of Interstate 5, has been contained.

Federal, state, local and military firefighting agencies have been fighting the brush fire that started at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday in the Juliet Training Area here. The cause of the fire is unknown, but no live fire or incendiary training was being conducted.

The fire forced the evacuation of the Serra Mesa and San Luis Rey Housing Areas. Upwards of 2,000 personnel were impacted.

The Juliet fire, which is currently being fought under a joint command of Camp Pendleton Fire and the Oceanside Fire Department, has burned approximately 1,200 acres on Camp Pendleton.

"There has been a well coordinated effort to fight this fire," said Col. James B. Seaton III, Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. "This is a great example of the effectiveness of the robust mutual aid agreements between Camp Pendleton and civilian agencies."

Back-burning operations are currently underway to attempt to tie the Juliet fire into the burn area of last week's November fire.

As of this report, no deaths or injuries have been reported, and no structures have been destroyed.

"The muscular effort displayed in fighting this fire is a testament to the San Diego County leadership and their thorough preparations for the fire season," said Seaton. "The rapid, robust air attack by civilian firefighting aircraft and ground crews saved homes aboard Camp Pendleton."

Of special note for Camp Pendleton residents:
Camp Pendleton residents displaced from their homes should report to the Stuart Mesa Lincoln Military Housing Office, Building 310001 in Camp Pendleton's 31 Area. The Paige Field House, in the 11 Area, is serving as initial collection point only.

Stuart Mesa Housing is accepting displaced residents, and an American Red Cross site has been established there, and is distributing food, water, and basic toiletries. The exchanges in Stuart Mesa and Del Mar are also extending their hours until 2200.

The San Luis Rey Gate is currently closed, as is the section of Vandergrift Blvd. from the San Luis Rey Gate to Rattlesnake Canyon Rd.

Camp Pendleton residents should refer to the Base Web site and the Base Information Hotline at (760) 725-9045, for further information. Both resources will be updated as frequently as more information becomes available.

In addition, Camp Pendleton personnel looking for information on their work schedules for Tuesday should also refer to the Base Web site and the Base Information Hotline, or their Battalion command. When a decision has been reached, it will be posted on these resources.

Media requesting additional information should contact the Camp Pendleton Media Relations Office, at (760) 725-5044/5043.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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