Blue Ridge Fire Explodes to Over 15,000 Acres in Yorba Linda, Chino Hills


YORBA LINDA (CNS) - A wind-driven brush fire that broke out on the west end of Corona in Riverside County and quickly spread into Orange County -- threatening homes in Yorba Linda and blackening 15,200 acres -- was 0% contained today.

Initially called the Green Fire and later renamed the Blue Ridge Fire, the blaze was reported at 12:55 p.m. Monday adjacent to the Green River Golf Club, just off of Green River Road and the Riverside (91) Freeway, according to the Corona Fire Department.

Ten homes were damaged in the blaze, but the location and extent of damage were not immediately available, according to the Orange County Fire Authority, which added that more than 1,000 firefighters were battling the blaze.

Evacuations have been ordered in 5,958 homes in Chino Hills and 2,500 homes in Yorba Linda. In Brea, 276 homes were ordered evacuated, 680 homes voluntarily evacuated and no homes were damaged there, officials said.

Unlike most of the day Monday, firefighters on the ground were expected to get help from helicopter water drops on Tuesday as the intense winds have lessened, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Thanh Nguyen said.

“It's windy, but not as bad as yesterday,'' Nguyen said.

There have been several water drops from the sky for the Silverado Fire on Tuesday, Nguyen said.

Firefighters are not concerned the two blazes will merge, Nguyen said. “Unless we had some weird weather pattern I don't see them catching up to each other,'' Nguyen said.

Brea and Chino Hills officials were handling evacuation orders, Nguyen said.

“We're trying to organize it so it's one central point of information,'' Nguyen said.

The new evacuations follow ones announced by the OCFA at about 11 p.m. Monday for residents living in thousands of homes in the following areas:

-- The Hidden Hills community and Yorba Linda, north of the Riverside (91) Freeway, east of Gypsum Canyon;

-- All of Carbon Canyon from the county line to Summit Ranch in Chino in San Bernardino County;

-- Homes on both the west and east sides of Carbon Canyon Road, including Sleepy Hollow, Oak Tree Downs, Pine Valley Estates, Western Hills and Summit Ranch to the west of Chino; Valley Springs, Carriage Hills and Old Carbon Canyon Road to the east.


Mandatory evacuations were issued just after midnight by Brea city officials for residents in all of Carbon Canyon, east of Brea Hills to the county line, including the Olinda Village and Hollydale neighborhoods, and voluntary evacuations were urged for the Olinda Ranch and Brea Hills areas.

Temporary evacuation points were set up for Mission Viejo residents at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center at 24932 Veterans Way, and at Santiago Canyon College at 8045 E. Chapman Ave. in the city of Orange.

At about 2 a.m. Tuesday, an evacuation warning was issued by Los Angeles County officials for an area south of Diamond Bar, bordered by Grand Avenue to the north, Diamond Bar Boulevard to the west, the Los Angeles/Orange county line to the south and the Los Angeles/San Bernardino county line to the east.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued at 4:25 a.m. in the San Bernardino County city of Chino Hills for residents south of Soquel Canyon Parkway, including the entire area of Bell Ridge Drive and Golden Terrace Drive on the west to Misty Hill Drive on the east. Also under a mandatory evacuation order are communities north of Soquel Canyon Parkway at Pipeline Avenue, west of Wickman Elementary School, including homes on Winged Foot Way, Pebble Beach Lane, Singing Hills Drive, August Drive and Firestone Lane.

Evacuation orders issued Monday night included all Carbon Canyon from the county line, west of Sleepy Hollow to Summit Ranch on both the north and south sides of Carbon Canyon Road and the Village Oaks area, west of Peyton Drive near Bayberry, including Oak Creek Road, Oak Canyon Drive and Oak Crest Drive and the entire Vellano community. The evacuation order includes Sleepy Hollow, Hill of Hope, Hillcrest, Oak Tree Downs, Pine Valley Estates, Western Hills Estates, Valley Springs/Western Hills Oaks, Carriage Hills and Old Carbon Canyon Road to the south.

An evacuation warning was issued about 1:25 a.m. for residents in the Butterfield Ranch, west of Butterfield Ranch Road, south of Pine Avenue to Chino Valley (71) Freeway.

There were no evacuation orders or warnings for Corona, according to the OCFA.

The high winds grounded aircraft used to battle fires for most of the day, but by late Monday afternoon, a DC-10 was up in the air making air drops in Yorba Linda, Fennessy said.

“But we're also told we can expect (winds) to increase in the early morning hours until they die off sometime tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon,'' OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy said.

On Monday, multiple engine crews including some from the Riverside County Fire Department encountered flames moving rapidly west up a hillside, powered by 30 mph Santa Ana winds.

The head of the fire entered Orange County about 1:20 p.m. Monday, and the flames raced toward Yorba Linda, posing a threat to scores of residences.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire.

A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was secured Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The grant will assist local and state agencies responding to the fire to apply for 75% reimbursement of their eligible firefighting costs.

Photos: Getty Images

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