Camp Pendleton Burns: Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke

For three weeks, Camp Pendleton Fire Department and partner agencies are battling wildfires across thousands of acres stemming from a fire that broke out on the evening of May 18th at the Mike Training Area of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, according to base spokesman, 2nd Lt. Charlotte M. Dennis.

Camp Pendleton is sharing few details about the blazes, but has offered updates on social media. But what’s most alarming is that despite official claims that the smoke is contained, area residents are suffering its impact.

As of yesterday, the fire in the area known as “Wood” stands at 7,000 acres burned and is 20% contained.

The “India” fire has 1,100 acres burned and is 20% contained.

The “Range 706 Yankee” impact area has a fire of 500 acres; but no update on containment was available.

As fire crews from Cal Fire San Diego and the Orange County Fire Authority battle the blazes, winds also pushed smoke into southwest Riverside County.

Camp Pendleton reports that all fires remain in impact areas and will produce smoke with CPFD and partner agencies engaging. No threats on or off base, Wednesday afternoon’s tweet said.

However, that is not what social media platform comments reveal. 

Area residents have reported heavy smoke infiltrating their neighborhoods inhibiting their ability to breathe. 

Twitter users are questioning why live-fire training was being conducted during recent Santa Ana wind events and high temperatures with low humidity.

According to the base’s website, a large portion of the camp’s training area is designated as impact zones for live-fire training conducted by Marines.

“Due to the constant live-fire training, vegetation fires on impact zones are common but they aren’t always put out as most would expect,” the website states.

It seems the COVID-19 N95 masks will finally find a legitimate use after all.

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A fire burns at Ranges 108 and 109 on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, June 12, 2019. The Camp Pendleton Fire Department encounters several wildfires each year, some of which they will let burn in order to prevent larger fires in the future. The firefighters will also avoid fighting a fire if there’s a potential for unexploded ordnance to be in the area, and will instead monitor the blaze until it goes out. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels)

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