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Fires continue to burn in San Diego, including two on Marine base

Firefighters find charred body of an apparently homeless man as they extinguished hot spots in one of the many fires in the San Diego area.
By Frances Burns   |   May 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM   |   Comments

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SAN DIEGO, May 16 (UPI) -- Brushfires continued to burn Friday in the San Diego area, including two that have charred thousands of acres on U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

The fires that began earlier this week may have caused at least one death. Firefighters found a charred body Thursday in the remains of a homeless encampment in Carlsbad in northern San Diego County.

Carlsbad Fire Chief Michael Davis said the body was discovered in a canyon by firefighters extinguishing hot spots. The dead man had not been identified.

At least 10 fires were burning Friday morning, officials said. The Cocos fire, although much smaller than the two burning at Pendleton, was described as the most active.

The fires have been spread by the area's Santa Ana winds, which blow hot dry air from inland areas downhill towards the coast. But officials say some of them may have been deliberately set.

Two teenagers were arrested late Thursday in Escondido as they attempted to bicycle away from police. They are suspected of setting small fires in the city.

The Poinsettia fire in Carlsbad has destroyed about two-dozen single-family homes and apartments. The Cocos fire, barely contained Friday, has gutted buildings in San Marcos, east of Carlsbad.

James Harkins told the Los Angeles Times his San Marcos neighborhood is now a "moonscape."

"There ain't nothing here," he said. "Just white ash and white ash and white ash."

At Camp Pendleton, hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate base housing or leave their work stations. As of Friday, no buildings had burned and no serious injuries reported.

The Las Pulgas fire on the base itself has burned across 8,000 acres, while the Tomahawk fire at Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook had charred more than 6,000.

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