San Diego Fires: Local Church, Schools Open Doors to San Marcos Evacuees, Pastors Urge Prayer [CA Fire Map, Road Closures]

( [email protected] ) May 15, 2014 01:53 PM EDT

Update: At least nine fires have been burning in the county, destroying eight houses, an 18-unit condominium complex and two businesses, according to the Associated Press, and burning more than 15 square miles. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in the county. 

In response to the wildfires spreading through San Marcos, California, local churches and schools are opening doors to the several thousand people evacuated from their homes.

The New Vision Christian Ministries International church opened its doors to evacuees. It's located at 2117 Industrial Court in Vista, and pets are welcome.

Mission Hills High School at 1 Mission Court has been set up as an evacuation point by the city, and a secondary center will be at San Marcos Middle School, 650 West Mission Road.

Road closures include South Twin Oaks Valley Road at Hwy 78, Craven Road at Twin Oaks Valley Road, Village Drive at Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Elijo Road at Double Peak Road, Melrose Drive at Rancho Santa Fe Road, Melrose Drive at San Elijo Road, San Elijo Road at Rancho Santa Fe Road, Elfin Forest Road at Calistoga Way, Questhaven Road at City Limit, Coronado Hills Drive at Via Del Campo and Fallsview Road at San Elijo Road.

Airbnb, a website used to find lodging rentals, organized a site where people can open up their homes for free to those in need.

Fire authorities report that about 800 acres and at least three buildings have been destroyed in the blaze just south of state Route 78. In addition, the fires have forced the evacuation of California State University, San Marcos and 21,600 homes

The latest evacuation orders arrived by text, emails and phone calls to residents in Questhaven, Harmony Grove and parts of Elfin Forest in San Marcos and neighboring unincorporated areas of the county, sheriff's deputies said.

"Yesterday was a difficult day throughout the county with fire units responding to more than nine fires here in San Diego County," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Nick Schuler told CBS News. "Throughout the night we made great progress on some of the fires in the county, including the Cocos Fire, which we're here at today, which is the No. 1 priority in the county."

Camp Pendleton Marines offered the use of 22 helicopters today, including 12 that would be used to help fight the Cocos Fire, which broke out along Cocos Drive Wednesday afternoon, and other blazes, County Supervisor Bill Horn said.

"We are watching your neighborhoods, we are protecting your property while you're gone," said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, adding that 120 deputies were assigned to the incident.

The Cocos Fire was one of several fires to erupt within hours of each other on Wednesday amid abnormally hot, dry and windy weather conditions. Though a red flag warning remain in effect for valley and mountain areas until 5 p.m., the National Weather Service said today's winds would be moderate compared to Wednesday's powerful gusts.

Social media users have offered their thoughts and prayers for victims of the fire, tweeting "God Bless our Firefighters" and "Praying for those affected by the #sanmarcosfire."

"It's important to pray right now," says Rev. Alan Goldwin of San Diego, CA. "We need to be seeking God in this scary and devastating time."