(AP) — Marine Corps officials say all nonessential staff have been ordered to leave Camp Pendleton because of a third wildfire that has ignited on the base.

The Marines say the new blaze cropped up Friday in the northwest section of the sprawling coastal base between Los Angeles and San Diego, prompting evacuations of military housing and an infantry school.

Officials say two others fires prompted the evacuations of 356 military families.

One fire on the base that broke out Thursday grew overnight from 600 acres to 8,000. That's 12 1/2 square miles.

The other fire sparked Wednesday on the eastern outskirts of the Marine base scorched nearly 10 square miles of dry brush.

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CAMP PENDLETON (CNS) - Evacuated Fallbrook residents were allowed to return home tonight as a fire that charred about 6,000 acres on and near Camp  Pendleton continued to burn and another fire scorched more than 50 acres of  brush on the other side of the base.

The so-called Tomahawk Fire erupted for unknown reasons around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Fallbrook facility on the outskirts of CampPendleton, then spread onto the North County Marine Corps installation. Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook lost power and will be closed today. 

Residents of the approximately 500 households on Olive Hill Road between South Mission and Burma roads received an evacuation message via phone, email or text message because the fire threatened to spread off base, according to  sheriff's officials. Residents and small pets were asked to seek shelter at EscondidoHigh School.

They were later allowed to return home, but were advised that Olive Hill and Burma roads remained closed at Sleeping Indian Road.

The most recent blaze broke out about 2 p.m. near a sewage plant and prompted the evacuation of personnel to the School of Infantry Parade deck behind the mess hall, the officials said.

The Camp Pendleton Scout reported that facilities in the Las Pulgas area were evacuated, including a store, gas station, restaurant, recreating center, barber shop and laundromat.

Base officials said most of the facilities that were evacuated Wednesday because of other fires at the base have reopened.

The Tomahawk Fire, the first of the fires near CampPendleton, burned around 6,000 acres at Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook and on the eastern side of CampPendleton amid dry, blisteringly hot conditions and was not contained as of mid-day today, Cal Fire Division Chief Dave Allen said.

Another fire broke out on Wednesday on the eastern side of Interstate 5, near Las Pulgas Road, about 15 minutes after the first, according to the California Highway Patrol. The blaze, which was possibly caused by a fire that engulfed and gutted a box truck, blackened 30 acres and prompted a temporary closure of both sides of the freeway in the area.


Military and civilian crews from several area agencies battled the flames on the ground and from firefighting aircraft.