San Marcos-area evacuation order lifted


By City News Service

An evacuation order for all San Marcos-area residents was lifted May 18 as firefighters worked to fully contain a wildfire that scorched nearly 2,000 acres and leveled several homes.

The so-called Cocos Fire, which sparked near Cocos Drive at 3:45 p.m. May 14 amid gusty winds, triple-digit temperatures and extremely dry ground cover, was about 85 percent contained this morning. Firefighters in the San Marcos area expect to have it fully contained later today.

Fire officials said the fire’s activity had been limited to smoldering areas within its perimeter.

Those allowed to return home were asked to use caution, as pieces of fire equipment remained in some areas and emergency workers were assessing tree hazards.

Fire crews continued to construct containment lines, improve existing ones and mop up hot spots today. Damage inspectors have completed their evaluations.

The Cocos Fire has destroyed 39 single-family dwellings in San Marcos and the nearby unincorporated area, including 25 structures at the Harmony Grove Spiritual Association, a century-old church retreat, according to fire and county officials. The fire’s cost to date was more than $4.2 million, authorities said.

No injuries have been reported in connection with the fire, according to Cal Fire.

The Cocos Fire was one of nearly a dozen major brush fires to break out in San Diego County last week.

Cal State San Marcos was evacuated shortly after the fire started and this weekend’s commencement ceremonies have been pushed back a week, according to university officials.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.