Pointsettia Fire 60% contained

CARLSBAD – A wind-driven brush fire that damaged or destroyed more than two dozen Carlsbad residences, downed power lines and forced thousands of evacuations was about 60 percent contained early today.

The so-called Poinsettia Fire broke out for unknown reasons shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday near Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road, just east of El Camino Real. Winds quickly pushed the flames about 400 acres and west toward neighborhoods and some high-tech businesses.

An 18-unit apartment complex, eight houses and two commercial structures were damaged or destroyed Wednesday, city officials said. The damage was estimated at $22.5 million.

Neighborhoods along Aviara Parkway and Black Rail Road sustained most of the damage, according to Cal Fire. No injuries were reported.

Authorities initially issued 15,000 evacuation notices to residents west of El Fuerte Road, south of Palomar Airport Road and north of Aviara Parkway. Among sites evacuated were Aviara Oaks elementary and middle schools, and Poinsettia Elementary, according to Carlsbad Unified School District officials, who said students were not in danger.

The evacuation order was later lifted for those east of El Camino Real, south of Alga Road, on Aviara Parkway from Poinsettia to Ambrosia lanes, in areas south of Aviara Parkway, and on Black Rail and Nightshade roads, Tohee Lane, Cormorant Drive and Baccharis Avenue.

All hotels near the airport on Palomar Airport Road are also open, according to city officials.

Temporary shelters for the displaced were set up at Calavera Hills Community Center, 2997 Glasgow Drive, and at La Costa Canyon High School, 1 Maverick Way. Pets are only allowed at La Costa Canyon High.

City officials said both shelters were fully stocked and need neither donations nor additional volunteers.

The fire was close to McClellan-Palomar Airport, but flight operations were not significantly affected Wednesday, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Aircraft were being directed around the smoke, he said.

Dove Library, Aviara Community Park and Alga Norte Community Park were closed, and Legoland California was evacuated as a safety precaution because of electrical power surges, officials said.

Fire-related road closures that remained in effect early today included Aviara Parkway from Ambrosia Lane to El Camino Real; El Camino Real from Alga to Palomar Airport Road; Camino Vide Robles from Palomar Airport Road to El Camino Real; Poinsettia Lane from Black Rail Road to El Camino Real; Palomar Oaks Way; and Cassia Road.

The blaze came amid a heat wave that was pushing temperatures well into the 90s along the coast. Winds, however, were not as strong as on Tuesday, when a wildfire charred 1,548 acres between 4S Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe.

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