Las Pulgas Fire Grows to 8,000 Acres Overnight

Aircraft with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing assist CALFIRE 2014 and local firefighting agencies with Cocos wildfires in San Marcos, Calif. May 15. Photo Credit: Pfc. Maxwell Pennington
Aircraft with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing assist CALFIRE 2014 and local firefighting agencies with Cocos wildfires in San Marcos, Calif. May 15. Photo Credit: Pfc. Maxwell Pennington

Originally published at 5:51 a.m. May 16, 2014. Edited with new details. 

Crews continued to battle two fires at Camp Pendleton today, including one that grew overnight from 600 acres to 8,000, according to base officials.

The fast-moving Las Pulgas Fire, which was 5 percent contained at midday, broke out about 3:15 p.m. Thursday near a sewage plant in the Las Pulgas area and has led to hundreds of evacuations.

The second fire being fought at Camp Pendleton -- known as the Tomahawk Fire -- erupted around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday and has scorched about 6,300 acres on the eastern outskirts of Camp Pendleton. Base officials said it's about 23 percent contained, according to county officials.

The Tomahawk Fire began at the Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook at the edge of Camp Pendleton, then spread onto the sprawling North County Marine Corps installation. The Fallbrook facility lost power and remains closed today.

The causes of both blazes are under investigation. 

Read updates on the San Diego County Wildfires here: Friday San Diego County Firestorm Coverage.

—City News Service

Gary Headrick May 16, 2014 at 01:31 PM
Have you noticed ashes from the raging fires on the hood of your car, the leaves of plants, even inside your home? Imagine trying to avoid them, cleaning them out of the environment, keeping them out of your lungs and nose. What you are seeing is the distribution pattern of radiation in the event that there was a massive release of radioactive particles from our nuclear power plant. You might say, "The plant has been permanently closed. There is nothing to worry about", but that simply is not true. We are facing a potential threat that exceeds even the worst effects of most fires, like losing a family member, a best friend, your home and all of your worldly possessions. Our hearts go out those who have been suddenly, unexpectedly evacuated, facing the possibility that they will have to start all over again when the fires subside. Hard to imagine, but it could be much worse. My point is not to minimize what those in immediate danger are facing. It is to illustrate just how huge the catastrophe could be for all of us who are now only seeing the ashes, smelling the smoke, tasting the acidic flavor of whatever is burning miles away. The "inconvenient truth" is that these same fires that rage out of control right now, could actually destroy the only protection we have from a nuclear disaster, worse than Chernobyl and Fukushima. If fires take out the power lines coming into the nuclear plant, pumps which cool radioactive waste, (89 times the amount that was released in the Chernobyl disaster), would no longer function. Back up batteries and generators might protect us for a few precious hours, but when they are exhausted, water could quickly evaporate from extremely hot fuel rods stored in the overcrowded pools, leading to spontaneous combustion, spewing radiation into the environment from an uncontrollable fire. Those ashes you see now represent the permanent contamination that would be here to stay for perhaps thousands of years. So while you are hoping and praying that the fires don't take away your most precious things, you might want to include San Onofre in your wishes. And if we get through it all right, you might also want to attend the next public meeting regarding storage of nuclear waste. Southern California Edison's Community Engagement Panel will host its second regular public meeting Thursday, May 22, at The Hills Hotel in Laguna Hills located at 25205 La Paz Road. The meeting is scheduled to last from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The panel met on May 6th in San Juan Capistrano in a workshop focusing on storage of nuclear waste but was not open to public comment. This time, they will let us express our concerns and raise valid questions that must be answered before they make San Onofre a permanent nuclear waste site. Show up and be counted, even if you have no desire to speak up. Every person matters.
Triciala May 16, 2014 at 02:01 PM
Hey, way to go Headrick; your timing is impeccable. Spoken like a true single minded politician looking for an opportunity to scare people into your agenda. Meanwhile, do you mind if I just worry about possibly packing up my house just in case the FIRES start raging into my neck of the woods?
colleen May 16, 2014 at 05:12 PM
Gary that's a good point. It's not something we like to have to think about, but being able to visualize the radiation distribution pattern through the use of ashes as a "tracer" is a great picture of the problem at hand. I've always supported your cause as an "activist" (not politician..poor choice of words Triciala), and it must be very difficult for you to maintain. Thanks for being there to voice the concerns that we all should be voicing.
Nancy May 16, 2014 at 05:17 PM
Geez Triciala, you don't seem to be able to see the forest for the trees. Either that, or your ADD prevents you from actually reading the post. Headrick is just pointing out why we don't want FIRES interfering with power being supplied to San Onofre. Pumps (operated with power) are required to keep the nuclear waste cooled. If it doesn't stay cooled, we've got a big problem. Much bigger than your concern for YOUR belongings in YOUR neck of the woods....a concern for ALL of us and our health, in addition to our "stuff"
Scott A May 23, 2014 at 02:40 AM
Triciala, yeah, who cares about the public. Just look out for yourself and your stuff, huh? Screw everyone else. Your lack of concern is sad and mildly sociopathic. I am really thankful there are people in our community like Gary who care enough and take the time to speak up for the community. Best 'agenda' one can have.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »