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Wildfire breaks out at Southern California's Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base

A wildfire on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base in northern San Diego County triggered evacuation orders early Thursday as Santa Ana winds brought dangerously gusty and dry conditions to Southern California.

The evacuation orders — which have since been lifted — affected 7,000 residents on the west side of the community of Fallbrook and for some Camp Pendleton locations, according to the the base and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Cal Fire said the wildfire, known as the Creek Fire, is 35% contained and has scorched at least 3,500 acres as of Thursday night.

California Wildfires
A wildfire burning in northern San Diego County triggered evacuation orders on December 24, 2020. Cal Fire San Diego via AP

The National Weather Service forecast moderate to locally strong Santa Ana winds Wednesday through midday Thursday.

The San Diego weather office reported that the winds had peaked and had slowly weakened. The highest windspeed recorded in San Diego County was 71 mph.

Utilities proactively cut power to thousands of customers in targeted areas to prevent fires from being ignited by downed lines or sparks from wind-blown debris striking electrical equipment.

Southern California Edison had shut power off to more than 18,000 customers earlier Thursday. Almost 6,800 San Diego Gas & Electric customers were blacked out and more than 24,000 others were warned they also might lose power.

Camp Pendleton sprawls over 195 square miles of coastal and mountain terrain.

Peter Martinez contributed to this report.

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