CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
More than 1,000 firefighters from local, state and federal agencies, along with military and civilian aircraft, worked around the clock to extinguish fires that burned 21,900 acres of the base and lead to the evacuation of several thousand base personnel and residents from several areas here since May 14.
The San Mateo, Las Pulgas and the Naval Weapon Station Fallbrook fires collectively referred to as the Basilone Complex, burned approximately 18 percent of Camp Pendleton.
“The fact that a sense of normalcy has been established so quickly on base is a testament to the incredible efforts of our firefighters from throughout the state. On behalf of the Marines, sailors and families here, I want to thank every one of them for their bold and tireless efforts in fighting these fires,” said Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
The first of the fires started on Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook and grew to 5,400 acres before reaching 100 percent containment.
"I'd like to give my sincere thanks to Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, Camp Pendleton Fire Department, I Marine Expeditionary Force, the Navy’s 3rd Fleet and all the various fire departments throughout California and Nevada for their incredible efforts in fighting these fires,” said Bullard. “I would also like to thank the Southern California Incident Management Team 2 for their effective management of this incident.”
During the course of this fight, the fire management team was originally requested to assist and manage the fire on Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook. With changing weather patterns, extreme temperatures and high winds, the Camp Pendleton Fire Department was able to coordinate and utilize the fire management team for focusing efforts and deploying resources to engage and fight the other fires here.
“Everyone came together to form an integrated team focused on protecting the lives of our Marines and their families here,” said Bullard.
As the week progressed, and with exhausted crews and incident commanders, the Camp Pendleton Fire Department and the fire management team unified the incident command and collectively managed the remainder of fires aboard the base.
“Their execution was well planned and flawless,” said Bullard.
The Las Pulgas Fire first reported at 3:15 p.m., Thursday burned 15,000 acres.
The San Mateo Fire that was reported at 11:24 a.m., Friday burned 1,500.
The causes of the fires are under investigation.
For fire updates, please visit the official Camp Pendleton Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Camp-Pendleton-Scout/244860127876?v=wall.