Fire in San Diego County triggers evacuations

Crash Closes I-8 Near Site of Sweetwater Fire

Amid a high wind warning and dry conditions that made for extreme fire danger, the Lilac Fire sparked Thursday near State Route 76 and Interstate 15 in San Diego's North County.

Authorities say three people were hospitalized with burns and two firefighters were injured battling the flames.

A San Diego Fire-Rescue team at the Lilac Fire.

The flames moved quickly after the fire broke out, growing to 50 acres as ground and airborne crews labored to keep the blaze from becoming an out- of- control conflagration like others raging this week across Southern California.

A red flag warning is in effect for the county until 8 p.m. Saturday. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for a number of impacted areas and the county of San Diego issued a local state of emergency to acquire access to resources. Among the evacuated sites were Bonsall High School, Sullivan Middle School and all neighborhoods along West Lilac Road.

A shelter at the Stagecoach Community Park filled to capacity Thursday night and evacuees were asked to go instead to the East Valley Community Center.

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Evacuees were also being directed to the Pala Casino.

The fire has ravaged trailer homes in a retirement community in Fallbrook and killed race horses at an elite training facility.

A Camp Pendleton Marine helps evacuation a horse.

Road closures are in effect on Old Hwy 395 between W. Lilac Rd. There were 11 schools closed and a portion of Route 76 shut down as the fire spread. The wildfire, dubbed the Sweetwater Fire, was near Alpine in the Japatul area of Cleveland National Forest, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection San Diego. Wind gusts were recorded in the area coming from a northeast direction, and clocked in at as high as 51 miles per hour on State Route 76.

A total of 300 residents from Carpinteria began evacuating the area Thursday due to orders from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, according to a news release, KABC reported.

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