Officials: Southern California brush fire caused by homeless encampment

A brush fire north of San Diego that prompted a handful of homeowners to evacuate over the weekend was sparked by a suspected homeless encampment, fire officials said Tuesday.

Oceanside firefighters responded to the blaze around 12:45 p.m. Sunday, which slowly spread up a ridge near several homes.

The steep terrain made it difficult for firefighters, who had to drag hoses as they went up and down the hill.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA KINCADE FIRE EVACUATIONS EXPAND TO 90,000 RESIDENTS AMID 'HISTORIC' WIND EVENT

"We had a slight spot up the slope running toward some homes. Fortunately, the crews were able to catch it pretty quick," Battalion Chief Jessamyn Specht told KNSD-TV.

By 3:30 p.m., the half-acre blaze was being mopped. No homes were damaged and no injuries were reported.

Specht said the fire was caused by someone cooking near a riverbed in a homeless camp.

"In this type of season we gotta be extra vigilant and be safe with any kind of sparks or work that you're going to do around the yard. We can't have a spark, because they will run," he said.

Several fires in the Los Angeles area have been blamed on homeless encampments in recent years.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Sunday's fire in Oceanside comes as fire crews in Los Angeles County and Northern California have battled several wildfires in recent days. Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes near Santa Clarita last week as wildfires burned and thousands of acres were destroyed.

The Kincade Fire in California's wine country had grown to more than 74,000 acres as of Monday. As of Tuesday, more than 120 structures were destroyed and around 90,000 were threatened.

Fox News' Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.