Lilac fire in San Diego County destroys 2 buildings, burns 350 acres


It remained the extent of the injuries resulting from the Lilac Fire. The blaze appears to be moving and growing extremely rapidly.

Ranch hands attempted to rescue hundreds of horses from the San Luis Rey Training Center as the Lilac Fire continued to scorch thousands of acres. The Lilac Fire was zero percent contained late Thursday afternoon and had destroyed 20 structures.

Two residents were taken to a hospital for treatment of trauma suffered during the blaze. At least one fire truck was on site with helicopters hovering above.

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The homes are burning in the tightly-packed Rancho Monserate Country Club community in the small city of Fallbrook.

Firefighters were dealing mainly with the Thomas Fire, the largest of the four, which started on Monday at 50 acres and swelled to 96,000 acres as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

"This is not something that we're not used to seeing, it's just not typical", said Cal Fire Captain Jon Heggie. Officials ordered evacuations in the town and parents were asked to pick up their children from Visa Murrieta High School, which was in the vicinity of the fire. Authorities set up an evacuation center for the displaced at Great Oak High School in Temecula.

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The Del Mar Racetrack threw open its doors for evacuees, and the owners encouraged people to bring bedding and food for the horses.

The fire threatening the training center started early Thursday afternoon near Interstate 15 where it intersects with California Highway 76.

The cause of the blaze - which broke out amid a National Weather Service "red flag" wildfire warning slated to expire Sunday night - was not immediately clear.

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Santa Anita officials sent vans to San Luis Rey Downs to aid in the evacuation, but there was concern the vans would not be able to reach the facility, according to Jim Cassidy, the president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers association.