Lilac fire in San Diego County destroys 2 buildings, burns 350 acres

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Cal State San Marcos has canceled classes for the rest of Thursday as well as Friday in consideration of employees and students affected by the Lilac Fire in northern San Diego County.

Ranch hands attempted to rescue hundreds of horses from the San Luis Rey Training Center as the Lilac Fire continued to scorch thousands of acres.

"These are days that break your heart", Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who declared a state of emergency for his city, said.

The Lilac Fire near Old Highway 395 and Dulin Road had grown to 500 acres as of 1:30 p.m. The fire consumed 300 acres and was 5 percent consumed.

Authorities said the fire was moving west along the Route 76 corridor, driven by "unprecedented winds", and could threaten parts of Vista and Oceanside.

Just after 6 p.m. ET, an NBC San Diego reporter on site said those assisting in evacuation efforts at San Luis Rey "had panic in their voices" and were "begging for an extra facemask because they were overcome with the smoke".

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

Residents and fire officials were still bracing for more fire.

Various reports indicated that the fire crossed some of the main roads around the training center.

The blaze jumped Highway 101 near Carpinteria Thursday; the highway has been closed off and on over the past 24 hours, CNN reported.

Winds early Thursday turned out not to be as dire as predicted, but Emergency Service Deputy Director Kelly Huston says the office erred on the side of caution because conditions were similar to those that led to 44 deaths in fires that broke out across Northern California on October 8. The blaze in Bel-Air destroyed four homes and damaged 11 others.

Fire officials tried to prevent the blaze from jumping the 405 Freeway toward the Getty Center. This is the latest among wind-driven fires plaguing Southern California.

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