Spreading Wildfire Forces Evacuations in San Diego County

Spreading Wildfire Forces Evacuations in San Diego County

Machowsky said other trainers related that it was hard to navigate around the property as a result of limited visibility, while fire trucks attempted to stake out various barns in an attempt to control the blazes. The blaze appears to be moving and growing extremely rapidly.

Numerous horses died or were injured Thursday when flames from the wind-driven Lilac Fire swept through the San Luis Rey Training Center in Bonsall, according to a trainer at the facility in northern San Diego County. The "Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index" categorizes fire risk. Cal Fire officials said 20 structures were destroyed and several remain threatened as the fire grows at a unsafe rate of speed.

A victim of the Lilac Fire being transported to an awaiting helicopter.

Two residents were taken to a hospital for treatment of trauma suffered during the blaze.

The evacuations include a mobile home park, a golf course country club and two schools.

State fire authorities said Thursday more than five buildings have been destroyed, an unknown number has been damaged and more than 1,000 others are threatened around Bonsall.

"Some of the lower barns-portable barns-caught on fire", Machowsky said, relaying a phone conversation he had with trainer Michele Dollase a half-hour earlier. The North County Fire Protection District has issued a mandatory evacuation for the area west of Lilac Road and Sullivan Middle School.

The Del Mar Racetrack threw open its doors for evacuees, and the owners encouraged people to bring bedding and food for the horses.

The cause of the blaze - which broke out amid a National Weather Service "red flag" wildfire warning slated to expire Sunday night - was not immediately clear.

A post on O'Neill's Facebook page indicated that O'Neill's assistant Leandro Mora was on site at San Luis Rey to assist with the evacuation process.

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