Oceanside-Camp Pendleton fire burns 85 acres; arson believed to be the cause

OCEANSIDE — Shortly after 1 p.m. on June 13,  911 calls flooded in reporting heavy smoke coming from the northern area of the Oceanside Municipal Golf Course.

Twenty-nine firefighters responded to the blaze, including two firefighters battling the flames from a helicopter.

The incident began as a heavy brush fire burning up the slope behind the golf course. It progressed rapidly due to 12 to 15 mile per hour winds. When firefighters arrived the fire had already consumed 2 acres.

A unified command was established with Camp Pendleton and a direct attack to slow the fire was launched.

A strike team also defended the Pilgrim Creek Estates community, where residents were able to shelter in place. A voluntary evacuation location was set up at the community center for residents’ needs. During firefighting efforts a drone entered the area slowing air water drop operations. An area advisory was sent out to cease all use of drones.

Conditions were cleared and air efforts successfully slowed the fire.

This allowed ground crews to bring the fire under control within three hours. Mop-up of hot spots continued all day June 14.

The fire burned 78 acres in Oceanside and 7 acres in Camp Pendleton. Douglas Drive was temporarily closed from North River Road to Vandergrift Boulevard during the fire. One firefighter was transported to Tri-City Medical Center for minor injuries.

The cause of the fire is believed to be arson. Jose Torres was questioned as a suspect, and detained by Oceanside Police on an unrelated warrant. The incident is still under investigation.

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