OC Wildfire Consumes 7,200 Acres; Roughly 90,000 People Evacuated

Fire officials in Orange County say a wildfire has exploded to 7,200 acres in the Santiago Canyon area amid gusting winds and dangerously low humidity. The wildfire, which began at around 6:47 a.m. this morning, has forced roughly 91,000 people in the region to evacuate. The fire is currently 0% contained.

The fire has consumed 4,000 acres by 10:45 a.m. and is currently zero percent contained fire officials said. All air support had to be grounded amid gusty wind conditions that made it dangerous for aircrews to fly and rendered water drops ineffective.

The wildfire also forced officials to issue mandatory evacuation orders for residents in the Orchard Hills community living north of Irvine Boulevard from Bake Parkway to Jamboree Road. The order affected roughly 20,000 homes and 91,000 residents.

  • Los Olivos Community Center, 101 Alfonso Drive FULL
  • Harvard Community Center, 14701 Harvard FULL
  • Las Lomas Community Center, 10 Federation Way
  • University Community Center, 1 Beech Tree Lane FULL
  • Quail Hill Community Center, 39 Shady Canyon Drive FULL
  • Los Olivos Community Center, 101 Alfonso Drive FULL
  • Harvard Community Center, 14701 Harvard FULL
  • Rancho Senior Center, 3 Ethel Coplen Way FULL
  • Turtle Rock Community Center, 1 Sunnyhill
  • Village Church of Irvine, 77 Post

The following schools were also evacuated due to the fire:

High Schools

  • Northwood High School

Elementary Schools

  • Portola Springs,
  • Eastwood,
  • Stonegate,
  • Loma Ridge,
  • Canyon View
  • Santiago Hills

Two Orange County firefighters were reportedly critically injured today during the battle against the blaze. According to Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy, the injured firefighters are 26 and 31 years old. Both have sustained second- and third-degree burns, one over 65% of the body and the other over half of his body.

Both firefighters have been taken to the OC Global Medical Center in Santa Ana.

“I got an opportunity to talk to members of their families and spend time with both firefighters in the emergency room while they were being treated, but they were not in a position where they could speak with me,'' Fennessy said. “Please keep these firefighters in your thoughts and prayers, and their families. We're going to do the same.''

Fire officials report that some structures are being threatened by the wildfire and there are reports coming in of some buildings already burned, however, that has not been confirmed by officials at this time. There are currently no reports of any injuries.

“This is a tough fire,'' Fennessy said. “We're experiencing very high winds, very low humidity... Any time winds are that bad you can't fly, and that certainly has an impact on both hand crews and bulldozers and firefighters at the end of those hose lines. Air attack is very important, but still it's the firefighters on the ground that put out that fire.''

Several road closures have also been announced due to the Silverado Fire.

The Foothill Transportation Corridor (241) Toll Road was closed from Santiago Canyon Road to the Eastern Transportation Corridor (133) Toll Road.

Southbound state Route 91 was also closed in the area north of the 241 Freeway.

Orange County Fire Authority officials said the flames had jumped the 241 Freeway shortly after 9 a.m.

Officials with Southern California Edison said they cut power off to 440 customers in Orange County late Monday morning due to the wildfire threat. Another 12,792 customers were under consideration for power shutoffs to prevent fueling the blaze.

Smoke from the fire has settled over the region, creating unhealth air across a wide area. The Orange County Health Agency is urging residents in the area to stay indoors, limit their outdoor activity and keep their windows and doors closed and run air conditioners to filter the air.

Photo: OC Fire Authority

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