This article was updated at 12:20 p.m., Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Two fires erupted on the outskirts of Camp Pendleton today amid dry, blisteringly hot conditions -- one blackening thousands of acres on the eastern side of the base and another charring several dozen acres along Interstate 5 and forcing a full closure of the freeway for several hours.
The first of the two blazes began spreading about 9:45 a.m. at Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook, according to Camp Pendleton public affairs. As the flames quickly spread, authorities evacuated the station along with military housing in the De Luz and O'Neill Heights areas, and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School and De Luz Child Development Center.
The second blaze broke out about 10 a.m. on the eastern side of I-5, near Las Pulgas Road, possibly due to a fire that engulfed and gutted a box truck, according to the California Highway Patrol. Within 90 minutes, it had jumped to the western shoulder, necessitating a temporary closure of both sides of the freeway in the area.
By early evening, the eastern blaze, dubbed the Tomahawk Fire, had grown to about 6,000 acres, while other one had burned roughly 30 acres, Cal Fire and base officials reported. Military and civilian crews from several area agencies battled the flames on the ground and aboard firefighting aircraft.
Rail service was suspended in the San Onofre area for a time around midday due to the smaller blaze, according to North County Transit District.
An unseasonable heat wave pushed temperatures into the mid- to high 90s in many parts of the county by midday.
—City News Service