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Stay or Go? Questions in Oceanside Evacuations

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Photos and story by: Ruarri Serpa

Oceanside CA- The brush fire that broke out in the San Luis Rey River bed east of College Boulevard was confined to the riverbed by a regional team of firefighters. Westerly winds pushed the fire inland, consuming over 50 acres, and threatening several Oceanside neighborhoods.

The fire is considered to be confined to the riverbed, and evacuation orders were lifted around 6:30 p.m. The city’s Twitter account stated that the fire is only 20 percent contained, however, referring to the active measures taken to prevent the spread, including removing brush that would fuel the fire. There is no indication at this point of what started the fire.

“One structure on Andrew Jackson Street had minor damage,” said Chief of Police Frank McCoy. Fire crews did a good job of containing it to the riverbed, McCoy said.

Crews from Oceanside, San Marcos, North County Fire, and Camp Pendleton responded to the fire on North River Road. Due to reciprocating agreements between the cities, Oceanside engines were helping at other blazes in the area, including San Marcos, and Carlsbad.

Evacuations were reported in the Presidents, and Berries neighborhoods, Leon Street, Stallion Drive, Del Rio Elementary School, and at the Melba Bishop Recreation Center. North River Road was closed east of Vandegrift Boulevard, and one section remained closed as of 7:30 p.m.

Flying embers caused repeated spot fires that threatened South Morro Hills farm, homes, and other buildings off of North River Road. Yet despite the “voluntary evacuation,” many residents remained, unsure of what the fire meant for them.

“They just told us to wet the plants,” said area resident Jasmine Cortez.

And at Gooseberry Way, residents continued to swim in the neighborhood’s pool. “We should have brought lawn-chairs,” one woman said.

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ruarri_surpa_125Ruarri Serpa is a freelance reporter from Oceanside, CA. You can contact him directly at RuarriS@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: @Ruarris