SAN DIEGO (CBS SF) — Fueled by powerful Santa Ana winds, firefighters battled a rapidly spreading wildfire Thursday afternoon in San Diego County that had already grown to 1,000 acres and destroyed at least five buildings, officials said.
State fire authorities said in addition to the five buildings destroyed, an unknown number of others had been damaged and more than 1,000 others were threatened around the community of Bonsall.
Officials shut down state Highway 76 in both directions and ordered mandatory evacuations around Bonsall. The blaze started shortly after 11 a.m.
Evacuations include a mobile home park, a golf course country club and two schools. Two lanes of Interstate 15 are also closed.
It’s the latest wind-driven fire in Southern California, including destructive blazes to the northwest in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Meanwhile, a text alert about dangerous fire weather conditions that was sent to 12 million Southern Californians in seven counties was the widest ever issued by the state Office of Emergency Services.
Winds early Thursday turned out not to be as dire as predicted, but Emergency Service Deputy Director Kelly Huston says the office erred on the side of caution because conditions were similar to those that led to 44 deaths in fires that broke out across Northern California on Oct. 8.
Huston said he would rather be criticized for potentially annoying someone than for not delivering a critical alert.