Silverado Fire: 2 firefighters seriously injured when a 7,200 acre fire forces thousands to flee the Irvine area
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A bushfire that exploded in eastern Orange County on Monday morning as the Santa Ana wind hit southern California left two firefighters seriously injured as thousands evacuated the Irvine area.
The fire, known as the Silverado Fire, broke out in the Santa Ana Mountains at around 6:45 a.m. on the Santiago Canyon and Silverado Canyon roads. The flames spread south and southwest as forecasters predicted gusts of up to 60 to 70 miles per hour.
The fire was originally reported at 10 a.m., but it had grown to 4,000 acres by 1:00 p.m. and to 7,200 acres by around 4:30 p.m., according to the Orange County Fire Authority. It is 0% included.
Edison, of Southern California, said his equipment may have started the fire when high winds resulted in hundreds of thousands of people across the state being powered on for safety, the Associated Press reported.
The utility said in a report to the California Public Utilities Commission that it is investigating whether a “lashing wire” connecting a telecommunications line to a suspension cable may have encountered a 12,000-volt line across it.
Flames rage near the Irvine Boulevard flyover above 133 in Irvine as the Silverado fire burns on October 26, 2020. (KTLA)
2 firefighters hospitalized with burns
Two out of 500 firefighters who responded to the fire suffered serious injuries and are currently being intubated at the Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana, OCFA said at 2:30 p.m.
The firefighters are 26 and 31 years old and at least half of their bodies were covered with second and third degree burns, according to the fire department.
• 65% of the firefighters’ first hand crew were covered with second and third degree burns.
• 50% of the second firefighter’s body is covered with second and third degree burns. #SilveradoFire
– OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) October 26, 2020
Thousands Evacuate Irvine; Tustin residents on high alert
Orange County’s residents can log on to AlertOC.org for alerts and review mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders through this county map.
About 90,800 residents evacuated the Irvine area at 4:30 p.m., OCFA chief Shane Sherwood said at a news conference that afternoon. At around 9:30 p.m., the agency announced that 70,000 homes in Irvine and 6,000 homes in Lake Forest had been forcibly evacuated.
A compulsory evacuation has been issued for areas north of Irvine Boulevard between Jamboree Road and Bake Parkway and from 1:30 p.m. for residents of the areas from Irvine Boulevard south to Trabuco Road and from Jeffrey Road East to Portola High School. In addition, the Baker Ranch and Foothill Ranch communities in the Lake Forest were forcibly evacuated.
From 5 p.m., a mandatory evacuation was also issued for the area between Great Park Boulevard and Bake Parkway and north of Toledo Way to the Irvine city limits.
Evacuation centers at the following facilities will remain open:
- Woodbridge High School
- Las Lomas Community Center
- Turtle Rock Community Center
- University community center
- Quail Hill Community Center
- Los Olivos Community Center
- Harvard Community Center
- Rancho senior center
Meanwhile, Tustin officials urged some residents and businesses to voluntarily evacuate.
“Be ready to go,” said OCFA Capt. Greg Barta. He urged residents to follow OCFA on Twitter for updates.
The California Highway Patrol said officials blocked traffic in the following areas as of 7:35 p.m.
- South 91 Freeway to 241 Freeway
- Northbound 241 Freeway from Alton Parkway
- 241 Freeway not accessible from Portola Parkway / Irvine
- Northbound and Southbound 5 Freeway to North 133 Freeway
- Chapman Avenue / Santiago Canyon Road closed to the east on Jamboree Road
- Santiago Canyon Road from Silverado Canyon Road
Videos show flames on this freeway near Santiago Canyon Road and ranch equipment charred from a road.
At around 1:00 p.m., a point fire at the Irvine Boulevard flyover sparked massive flames as motorists drove through thick smoke near Freeway 133.
#SilveradoFire Road Closure Update: ⁰The following parts of the toll roads are closed: ⁰⚠️ 133 toll road ⁰ • I-5 connection to NB 133 ⁰ • NB 133 between I-5 and 241 ⁰ • NB 133 connection to NB 241 ⁰ • SB 133 between 241 and Irvine Blvd pic.twitter.com/BYC2IjOvsy
– The toll roads (@TheTollRoads) October 26, 2020
A dozen campuses, including those in the combined Irvine and Tustin school districts, were evacuated after the fire broke out. According to officials, parents and guardians were notified.
UC Irvine also ceased operations on campus due to smoke from the fire.
All Irvine Unified School District schools will remain closed on Tuesday.
SoCal Edison turns off the power
Southern California Edison confirmed that power had been cut in the Trabuco Canyon area.
The utility was working to reduce service to about 18,000 customers, mostly in San Bernardino County, due to the risk of fire from the wind, a KTLA spokesman said Monday morning.
Santa Ana winds
Forecasters expect the winds to peak in the morning, but warned that they will remain gusty throughout the day. The National Weather Service urged the communities between Tustin and Foothill Ranch to “remain vigilant.”
The weather service recorded gusts of up to 84 miles per hour in Freemont Canyon, about 6 miles from the flame.
“All air support has been grounded due to high winds. If you are in the evacuation area, please evacuate immediately, “said fire-fighters in a tweet.
Thick smoke rose over residential areas surrounding the fire, triggering a health alert from the OC Health Care Agency.
Satellite imagery shows the winds carrying smoke from the Silverado Fire into the Pacific Ocean on October 26, 2020. (GOES-17 / NOAA)
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