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Santa Ana Winds spark wildfires Wednesday, road closures

By Reginald Stanley. Posted May 14, 2014, 3:54 PM.

A large number of wildfires are burning in parts of Southern California today, threatening homes and closing highways in many areas. These fires are being fanned by the notorious Santa Ana Winds whipping across the region, as well as high temperatures and single-digit humidities. The vegetation is also more apt to burn due to ongoing drought conditions.

Most of the fires have been reported in San Diego County, where the winds were predicted to be most severe. A fire west of Interstate 15, dubbed the Bernardo Fire, reportedly began on Tuesday near Rancho Santa Fe and is 25 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon. Another fire is burning near Pala Mesa Village and Bonsall, just west of Interstate 15 and Old Highway 395, south of Route 76. Both highways 76 and 395 have been reported closed by Caltrans. That fire has been dubbed as the Highway Fire and has burned at least 33 acres, with unknown containment. Passersby have reported the closure of Interstate 15 through the area, however Caltrans has not confirmed this.

A fire in Carlsbad is threatening homes and businesses, as well as the LEGOLAND theme park. This fire has been dubbed the Poinsettia Fire and has burned 100 acres. According to Cal Fire, the fire is burning off Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road.

Two additional fires are burning in Camp Pendleton this afternoon. One of them has been dubbed as the Tomahawk Fire, burning near the Naval Weapons Station next to Fallbrook and De Luz, in the southeast portion of the base. The fire has burned 150 acres and is 0 percent contained. Another unnamed wildfire is burning in the northwest portion of the base, near San Onofre. This has forced the closure of the Interstate 5 freeway through the base. Burned acreage and containment are not known at this time. Parts of Fallbrook, De Luz, and other north county towns have lost power. More than 20 structures, including homes, have been destroyed by the fires.

Fires have also been reported in Anaheim Hills burning near Highway 91, briefly closing the freeway, but has since been reopened. A fire is also burning in Santa Barbara County near Lompoc, which is 50 percent contained. Visible satellite imagery also shows at least three separate smoke plumes emanating from the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, the nearest being south of Tijuana.

Gusty winds and blowing dust has forced the closure of the Ramona Expressway between Perris and San Jacinto. Red Flag Warnings remain in effect for Ventura and Los Angeles counties, excluding the Antelope Valley. High Wind Warnings are in effect for the mountains and valleys of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Coastal communities in San Diego County also have Heat Advisories in effect through early Wednesday evening.

Updates will be made as this series of events progresses. Heed evacuation orders if they are made, and take extra caution. Check your local news sources for evacuation orders and evacuation centers. For more information, please visit the Caltrans and Cal Fire websites.

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The San Jacinto, California weather pages are a service of WeatherCurrents. San Jacinto is located in the heart of the San Jacinto Valley, near Hemet, the Soboba Casino, and at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains.
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