Earlier today, over 600 firefighters fought a nearly 2,000-acre wildfire that was 89 percent contained after having leveled more than three dozen structures in the San Marcos area, authorities said.
The Cocos Fire broke out near Cocos Drive on late Wednesday afternoon amid gusty winds, triple-digit heat and extremely dry ground cover, according to Cal Fire, which said the blaze was 89 percent contained as of this morning.
Authorities were using 55 fire engines, 17 fire crews, two helicopters, 16 water tenders and six bulldozers, mostly to put out smoldering areas early today, San Diego 6 reports.
The fire is expected to be totally contained by Thursday, May 22. Thus far, 36 family dwellings and 1 non-residential commercial structure have been destroyed. Among the structures destroyed in the Cocos Fire were 25 structures at the Harmony Grove Spiritual Association, a century-old church retreat, according to fire and county officials.
All evacuations and road closures were lifted by 11 a.m on Sunday, but though those who returned home were asked to use caution because of all the continuing firefighting activity in the area.
No injuries or deaths due to the fire have been reported.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but several residents of Coronado Hills community in San Marcos are questioning how the Cocos Fire started.
A man who did not want to be identified told 10News that neighbors who live where the fire burned believe the cause is suspicious.
"There were some vehicles seen up in the area here," he said.
Neighbors say there are cameras at a business down the hillside that are being looked at and that someone reported seeing more than one car on Cocos Drive Wednesday afternoon before the fire started.
"There were a number of people in that area in that vicinity seen on Cocos, more than one person," he said.
10News viewer Brian Walker sent in cellphone video he took of what appears to be the start of the fire.
A Cal Fire spokesperson says it is too early to tell the cause but videos like that one could hold the key to determining if it was intentional or accidental.
"That could potentially be the one piece of evidence they need that could determine the cause. It could determine the location of the fire," Bortisser said.
The fire's cost to date was more than $5.7 million, authorities said.