A wind-driven brush fire burned homes and parkland today in Carlsbad just south of McClellan-Palomar Airport, forcing evacuations of residents, three nearby schools and the Legoland amusement park.
The blaze broke out for unknown reasons around 10:40 a.m. near Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road, just east of El Camino Real. Winds quickly pushed the flames west toward neighborhoods and some high-tech businesses.
Multiple homes had caught fire by 12:30 p.m., according to reports from the scene, while also indicated that flames damaged Aviara Community Park.
The county of San Diego reported that more than 11,600 residences and businesses received reverse 9-1-1 calls urging the occupants to leave. An evacuation center was set up at the Westfield Plaza Camino Real, 2525 El Camino Real.
The schools that were evacuated, according to the Carlsbad Unified School District, were Aviara Oaks elementary and middle schools, and Poinsettia Elementary. A statement on the district's website said students were not in danger.
Aviara Oaks students were taken to the Brighton Gardens Senior Center at El Camino Real and Aviara Parkway, while Poinsettia Elementary pupils were transported to Carrillo Elementary School at 2875 Poinsettia Lane in San Marcos.
The fire was somewhat close to the airport, but Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration said flight operations were not dramatically affected. He said aircraft were being directed around the smoke.
The city of Carlsbad said that Dove Library, Aviara Community Park and Alga Norte Community Park were closed.
Also, a spokeswoman for Legoland California said the park was evacuated as a safety precaution because of electrical power surges.
The blaze came amid a heat wave that was pushing temperatures well into the 90s. However, personnel on the scene indicated winds were not as strong as on Tuesday, when a wildfire charred nearly 1,600 acres between 4S Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe.
Carlsbad fire officials were not immediately available to provide an acreage total.
—City News Service