Bernardo Fire update: Flames force evacuations near San Diego (updated)

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Click here for updates on the Bernardo Fire.

Update 6:02 p.m.: More evacuations, new evacuation center

Firefighters are facing a variety of challenges, including wind and heavy brush, Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser with CalFire in San Diego told KPCC.

"The fuel is extremely dry and mother nature has definitely got the upper hand in moving the fire in a lot of different directions right now," Bortisser said. 

The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services said that 21,000 notification calls went out to homes, businesses and cell phones so there may be some overlap between those evacuations. 

Evacuations are voluntary, not mandatory, City of San Diego spokesman Bill Harris told KPCC.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown. 

San Diego County Sheriff's Department sent out the following message about evacuation areas and a new evacuation center. 

In addition to the Fairbanks Ranch area, people living in Eastern Rancho Santa Fe are being evacuated from their homes due to the Bernardo Fire. Affected homes have been notified by phone. Sheriff's Deputies are also going door to door. 

Also, a new evacuation center is now open at Rancho Bernardo High School located at 13010 Paseo Lucido. People at the evacuation center at Torrey Pines High School will be moved to the new center. 

Be aware of road closures in the Fairbanks Ranch/Rancho Santa Fe area related to the Bernardo Fire. 

Avoid the following areas: 

  • San Dieguito Road (northeast from El Apajo to Camino Del Sur) 
  • Camino Del Sur to Rancho Bernardo Road (northbound) 
  • El Sicamoro (east from Via de Santa Fe) 

-- KPCC staff

Earlier: Wildfire forces 20,000 evacuations near San Diego 

 A wildfire roaring through Southern California forced evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on Tuesday, but so far only one mobile home burned as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to the parched state.

Bernardo Fire

San Diego's Emergency Operations Center says most of the homes are in the city and northern San Diego County.

The 700-acre blaze erupted Tuesday morning, fueled by canyons full of brush and pushed by hot, dry winds. At least two high schools and one elementary school also were evacuated, police Detective Gary Hassen said.

Another fire destroyed a mobile home and prompted the evacuation of five homes in the rural town of Campo in southern San Diego County before it was largely surrounded, state fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said.

North of Los Angeles, a wildfire erupted Tuesday afternoon in Santa Barbara County was quickly wind-whipped to 150 acres and it threatened 150 to 200 homes in the town of Lompoc, authorities said. Evacuations were ordered.

There were downed power lines and heavy brush in the area, said David Sadecki of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

A half-dozen other blazes statewide all remained small, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Record high temperatures were likely through midweek from Southern California north to the regions around Monterey and San Francisco bays, the National Weather Service said. Downtown Los Angeles was 92 degrees at noon, 18 degrees above normal.

With the combination of high heat, low relative humidity and the region's notoriously gusty Santa Ana winds, Los Angeles and neighboring cities activated parking restrictions in certain areas to make sure emergency vehicles could get through if fires erupted in dry brush.

Months of drought have left much of the landscape ready to burn. Downtown Los Angeles has recorded just 6.08 inches of precipitation with little time left in the July 1-June 30 rain year. That's less than half its annual average rainfall.

"Fire season last year never really ended in Southern California," Berlant said. His agency has responded to more than 1,350 fires since Jan. 1, compared to an average of 700 by this time of year.

12:59 p.m.: Fires erupt amid California heat wave

Firefighters are battling a brush fire on the outskirts of a San Diego County community as a high pressure system brings a spring heat wave to California.

The blaze erupted at late morning Tuesday on land outside neighborhoods of modern homes about 20 miles north of San Diego. Much of the surrounding land has been cleared for development.

An earlier fire in the Dulzura area of the County was contained at a third of an acre.

Forecasters expect record or near-record heat in California this week, but meteorologists say the predicted gusty Santa Ana winds have been more moderate and less widespread than initially expected.

RELATED: High temps, strong winds make for fire danger in SoCal

Los Angeles and neighboring cities have activated parking restrictions in areas adjacent to  so that fire trucks won't have difficulty getting through if needed.

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