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Latest on #LilacFire: Vista woman accused of looting home in fire zone


▶︎ 9:01 a.m. DEC. 11 | Palomar College in San Marcos is open today for normally scheduled classes and activities, though the school’s Dome will remain open as a Red Cross evacuation center, school officials said. Several school districts will remain closed today including Fallbrook Union Elementary School District; Fallbrook Union High School District; Mountain Empire Unified School District; Spencer Valley School District; Valley Center Pauma Unified; and St. Peter the Apostle Catholic school.


▶︎ 3:30 p.m. DEC. 10 | BONSALL — A Vista woman was caught looting a home in the Lilac Fire zone on Saturday afternoon, a San Diego Sheriff’s spokesperson said.

Sacheen Silvercloud faces charge of burglary during a state emergency, a second-degree felony punishable by up to three years in prison. She is being held in the Vista jail.

At about 12:39 p.m. Dec. 9, deputies Scott Carter and John Delocht were dispatched to 29937 Disney Lane in Bonsall where a real estate agent found a woman inside a home for sale.

Deputies arrested Silvercloud after finding she had “taken various household items and placed them in her vehicle,” the spokesperson said. The homeowner later confirmed that his property was in Silvercloud’s vehicle, the spokesperson said.

CORRECTION: This story should have said that looting during a state emergency is a second-degree felony, not a first-degree felony.

▶︎ 12:11 p.m. DEC. 10 | Three small brushfires popped up overnight around rural San Diego County and were quickly extinguished by firefighters overnight amid a deadly spate of wildfires across Southern California, officials said today.

Two fires were reported near Valley Center and Rincon, and one was reported in Dulzura, Cal Fire Capt. Jon Heggie said.

Small spot fires are something firefighters expected to see with much of the region facing strong winds and low humidity through tonight. But it’s unusual for the time of year.

“This doesn’t usually happen in December,” Heggie said.

All of the fires were extinguished before reaching a quarter-acre in size, he said.

▶︎ 2:26 p.m. DEC. 9 | People who remain evacuated from their homes due to the Lilac Fire have been consolidated to two shelters.

Officials have closed the East Valley Community Center and Pala Casino shelters. About 110 people remain at shelters at Palomar College in San Marcos and Bostonia Park and Recreation Center in El Cajon, according to San Diego County.

The American Red Cross does not need any supplies dropped off at the shelters, according to a spokeswoman.

To donate, visit, call 1-800-Red-Cross or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Those interested in registering as volunteers can do so at

Large animals, including horses displaced from the San Luis Rey Downs Training Center, as well as their trainers, are being sheltered at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

▶︎ 7:41 p.m. DEC. 8 | Power was restored today to about half the customers who were left without electricity during the Lilac Fire.

San Diego Gas & Electric has restored power to 9,470 customers after the utility’s crews patrolled power lines serving portions of East Ramona, Pala Mesa, Viejas and Sunrise Highway, a company official said.

Power remains shut off for about 7,500 additional customers for safety reasons, especially in areas where wind gusts have been strong.

The utility will resume efforts to turn on power for the remaining customers on Saturday.

The Lilac Fire broke out Thursday morning near Fallbrook. It has scorched 4,100 acres and destroyed at least 65 structures.

The fire has not been contained.

▶︎ 4:30 p.m. DEC. 8 | A 93-year-old man who was reported missing during the Lilac Fire has been reunited with his wife.

Pat Bailey had been searching for her husband Ralph since Thursday morning, when their mobile home at Rancho Monserate Country Club was evacuated, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Bailey was reunited with his wife this morning after neighbors found him and took him to a sheriff’s deputy, according to a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.

No other people have been reported as missing to the sheriff in connection to the fire, she said.

The Lilac Fire broke out Thursday morning near Fallbrook. It has scorched 4,100 acres and destroyed at least 65 structures, many of them in the area where the Baileys live.

The fire has not been contained.

▶︎ 2:12 p.m. DEC. 8 | Responding to a request from California Gov. Jerry Brown, President Donald Trump today declared a state of emergency in Southern California, ordering federal assistance to help fight a string of wildfires ravaging the region.

The federal aid is earmarked for Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Trump’s order authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide leadership in coordinating disaster relief efforts.

“This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict on the local population and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures,” a White House statement said.

FEMA is authorized at its discretion to identify, mobilize and provide equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impact of the fires.

Seventy-five percent of direct FEMA and Homeland Security assistance will be backed by federal funding.

Statistics show that as of Wednesday, CalFire already has spent $490.3 million in battling wildfires in the fiscal year that ends in June 30, 2018, more than the $426.9 million authorized for the 12-month period.

That total does not include the cost of fighting the massive blazes now raging across Southern California, authorities said.

▶︎ 1:59 p.m. DEC. 8 | A woman who tried to rescue horses at the San Luis Rey Training Center in Bonsall during the Lilac Fire was in a medically induced coma today after suffering from severe burns, according to multiple reports.

Martine Bellocq was being treated at the UCSD Medical Center Burn Unit in Hillcrest. Hospital officials declined comment.

Her brother-in-law, Remi Bellocq, said in a social media post that she was in a medically induced coma while doctors treat her for second- and third- degree burns over 50 percent of her body. However, doctors didn’t find burns or smoke damage in her lungs or airways, he said.

He said his brother, Pierre Bellocq, is recovering from smoke inhalation suffered in the fire that started Thursday.

The Daily Racing Form reported that Remi and Pierre co-trained six horses at the San Luis Rey Training Center, which was heavily damaged. Three of their horses died despite the Bellocqs’ efforts.

Hundreds of other horses were rescued from the facility, but around two dozen were killed, according to multiple reports.

A male horse trainer at San Luis Rey was also among the injured, suffering second- and third-degree burns to his arms and shoulders, the reports said.

▶︎ 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 | District Attorney Summer Stephan today issued a warning to businesses and scammers not to take advantage of consumers by price gouging during San Diego County’s state of emergency caused by raging wildfires.

During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal for a business to increase prices for essential goods and services by more than 10 percent, unless it can show its own costs have increased.

“Price gouging during a state of emergency is not only a crime, it is re-victimizing victims who may have lost everything in a wildfire,” Stephan said. “Natural disasters are already devastating, so when businesses and scammers exploit consumers when they are vulnerable, law enforcement will not tolerate it.”

It is against the law to spike prices on:

— food

— goods or services used for emergency cleanup

— medical supplies

— home heating oil

— building materials

— housing

— transportation

— gasoline

In addition, it is a misdemeanor for a hotel or motel to increase regular rates by more than 10 percent during a declared emergency and for the 30 days following the state of emergency. Looting during this time becomes a felony, punishable by three years in prison.

Stephan said anyone should be extremely cautious if approached by aggressive agents, adjusters or contractors after a disaster. She said most businesses are honest and have good intentions, but there are always bad actors waiting to take advantage of disaster victims.

▶︎ 12:17 p.m. DEC. 8 | The ride hailing services Uber and Lyft today are offering free rides — up to a value of $50 — to and from evacuation centers in San Diego County and other areas affected by wildfires in Southern California.

For Uber, passengers should enter the promotion code SOCALSAFE in the payment section of the Uber rider app.

For Lyft, the promo code KEEPSDSAFE should be used.

“We’re devastated by the fires in Southern California and our hearts go out to those who have been affected,” said Hao Meng, Lyft San Diego market manager.

“We are currently working with local officials to offer rides to evacuation centers and we will continue to update those locations as we learn more,” Meng said. “Our main focus is on the safety of our drivers and Lyft community.”

Locations where free rides are offered by Lyft are:

— East Valley Community Center, 2245 E. Valley Parkway, Escondido;

— Fallbrook High School, 2400 S. Stage Coach Ln, Fallbrook;

— Pala Casino, 11154 state Route 76, Pala;

— Stagecoach Community Park, 3420 Camino De Los Coches, Carlsbad;

— Oceanside High School, One Pirates Cove Way, Oceanside;

— Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos;

— Bostonia Park & Recreation Center, 1049 Bostonia St., El Cajon; and

— Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.

Uber’s free ride locations are the shelters in Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos and El Cajon.

▶︎ 12:14 p.m. DEC. 8 | County of San Diego officials said they hope to begin assessing damage today caused by the wind-driven Lilac Fire, which destroyed numerous homes and other structures as it raced through Bonsall.

The assessment process will begin as soon as the burned areas are deem safe, according to the county.

The county plans to open a local assistance center on Monday at the Vista Library, 700 Eucalyptus Ave., to help fire survivors navigate the recovery and rebuilding process. Hours of operation are still being set.

Until then, residents can obtain short-term services at evacuation centers, according to the county.

Recovery information for residents living in the unincorporated areas of the fire can be found at Officials said the website will be continually refreshed with updates and new information.

The county also established a dedicated email to help fire survivors with the recovery process at [email protected]

Officials said fire survivors who evacuated their homes should not return until fire and law enforcement officials deem it safe.

▶︎ 10:40 a.m. DEC. 7 | People who want to provide assistance to residents displaced by the Lilac Fire in northern San Diego County can best do so by making a financial donation, the San Diego chapter of the American Red Cross announced today.

Members of the public have been asking about how to drop off items at shelters, but Red Cross officials said that would be a distraction since they’re still working on getting the different locations staffed and maintained.

Financial contributions can be made online at, by
phone at (800) 733-2777, or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.

Emily Cox of the Red Cross said if any particular items are needed, they’ll provide an update, “but right now financial donations are the best and fastest way to help.”

The Red Cross is currently operating shelters at:

— Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos;

— East Valley Community Center, 2245 E. Valley Parkway, Escondido;

— Oceanside High School, One Pirates Cove Way, Oceanside; and

— Bostonia Park and Recreation Center, 1049 Bostonia St., El Cajon.

The Oceanside location is at capacity, according to Cox.

Pets are allowed at all four facilities. The El Cajon shelter opened after high Santa Ana winds caused power outages in the East County.

Carlsbad is operating a shelter at Stagecoach Community Park, 3420 Camino De Los Coches. That location also is at capacity, Cox said.

7:11 p.m. DEC. 7 | The Lilac Fire has forced closure of roads across the Fallbrook area, San Diego County’s public works department says.

These include Gopher Canyon Road, from East Vista Way to Little Gopher Canyon Road; Old River Road at Little Gopher Canyon Road through Golf Club Drive; Camino Del Rey at Highway 76 to Old Highway 395; Old Highway 395, from Highway 76 to West Lilac Road; West Lilac Road, from Old Highway 395 to Camino Del Rey; and State Route 76, from Old Highway 395 to Via Monserate. South Mission Road is closed at Winterhaven Road to southbound traffic to State Route 76.

For more road closure information, follow SDCountyDPW on Twitter.

5:42 p.m. DEC. 7 | This just in from the San Diego County spokesperson:

The San Diego County Office of Education announced the following school closures for Friday, Dec. 8.

  • Bonsall Unified School District
  • Fallbrook Union Elementary School District
  • Fallbrook Union High School District
  • Julian Union Elementary School District
  • Julian Union High School District
  • Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Oceanside Unified School District
  • Spencer Valley School District
  • Vista Unified School District
  • Warner Unified School District

California State University San Marcos also announced a campus closure effective 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 through Friday, Dec. 8. All classes, campus events and non-essential business operations are canceled for both the San Marcos and CSUSM at Temecula campuses. The university’s Center for Children and Families will also be closed; housing will remain open.

5:42 p.m. DEC. 7 | Numerous horses died or were injured today when flames from the wind-driven Lilac Fire swept through the San Luis Rey Training Center in Bonsall, according to a trainer at the facility in northern San Diego County.

The trainer, Cliff Sise, told CBS8 that one of those dead was his own horse, which he tried to rescue from a burning barn.

“It was dark, everything was hot and she wouldn’t come out,” Sise said. “I opened the pen and tried to get behind her and get her out, and she wouldn’t get out. She burned to death that quick.”

He estimated “off-hand” that between 10 and 15 horses died and others were injured. His figures could not immediately be confirmed.

Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux tweeted photos of conditions at the training center, including one of horses grouped together in thick smoke.

A Facebook post by the Doug O’Neill Race Stable called the situation “unimaginable,” and said the well-known thoroughbred trainer was on his way to the area.

The Del Mar Fairgrounds was opened as an evacuation center for livestock, and CBS8 reported 130 animals had been brought to the facility as of around 5 p.m. County officials urged livestock owners to evacuate their animals well ahead of time.

Officials in Del Mar said evacuees are encouraged to bring bedding, feed and horse identification. Several people in the area’s horse community put out word, via social media, that experienced horse people were being asked to go to the fairgrounds to assist with housing the animals.

Britney Eurton, a reporter with horse-racing channel TVG, tweeted that Del Mar officials were preparing to take in as many San Luis Rey horses as possible. — City News Service

3:47 p.m. DEC. 7 | This just in from San Diego County:

Highway 76 is closed in both directions between E. Vista Way and Old Highway 395. Also, an evacuation center is open at East Valley Community Center, located at 2245 East Valley Parkway in Escondido.

1:47 p.m. DEC. 7 | This just in from the city of Oceanside:

Crews are currently fighting a brush fire on the west side of the Interstate 15 on the south side of Highway 76.  The Oceanside Fire Department has staff in the area of the fire and is monitoring it closely.  Presently, there is not active threat to the City of Oceanside.  However,
fires are very unpredictable and residents along the San Luis Rey corridor are advised to be
ready in the event that the fire grows in intensity and begins to threaten our city.
If evacuations are called for, residents are strongly encouraged to take such warnings
seriously and be prepared to leave the area.  Additionally, fire crews are presently using
aircrafts to drop retardant.  Please do not utilize drones anywhere near the fire so that
aircraft can safely conduct their operations.