California authorities evacuate 90,000 people as the Silverado and Blue Ridge wildfires blaze
Officials in California have ordered 90,000 people to evacuate as two wildfires in Orange County spiral out of control.
The Blue Ridge Fire, in Chino Hills State Park, 35 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, started on Monday.
Orange County fire authority said at around 6:30pm local time on Monday that 1,170 homes were under evacuation order, with a further 481 homes under voluntary evacuation.
One home has reported damaged, they said.
Three thousand acres have burned so far and the fire is classed as ‘zero per cent contained’.
A second fire, the Silverado Fire, also broke out on Monday at 6:47am, and as of 4:45pm had burned 7,200 acres.
It, too, was classed as being entirely uncontained, blazing in the foothills of the Santa Ana mountains near the city of Irvine.
Firefighter Raymond Vasquez battles the Silverado Fire on Monday near Irvine, California
Fire gets close to homes off Portola Parkway in Portola Springs where a mandatory evacuation was ordered on Monday
Johnny Jo packs up his family’s belongings in the Orchard Hills community in Irvine, California on Monday
A woman in Orchard Hills near Irvine is pictured evacuating from her home on Monday due to the Silverado Fire
A man leaves his home during a mandatory fire evacuate as smoke from the Silverado Fire fills the air on Monday
An Orange County firefighter looks for hotspots near a residential area in the Silverado Fire on Monday
The Silverado Fire, which began on Monday morning, is one of many wildfires completely altering the landscape of the state
Firefighters gather as the Silverado Fire approaches, near Irvine, California, on Monday
Huge plumes of smoke billow over Irvine, California on Monday from the Silverado Fire
An Orange County Fire Authority firefighter stands ready to defend a home as the Silverado Fire approaches Orchard Hills
A firefighter prepares to tackle the blaze on Monday in California
The Silverado Fire burns along the 241 State Highway on Monday, 35 miles from downtown LA, near Yorba Linda
The Silverado Fire is seen creeping closer to a house in the Orchard Hills neighborhood of Irvine, California on Monday
Smoke rises from the Silverado Fire near Irvine on Monday
Two firefighters have been seriously injured while tackling the Silverado Fire, which may have been started by a power company’s equipment.
Southern California Edison said a power line may have played a role in the ignition of the Silverado Fire.
The initial safety incident report describes overhead electrical facilities in the area where authorities think the fire started, but notes there was no activity on the circuit.
‘We reported the incident despite seeing no activity on the nearby 12-kV circuit nor any downed power lines because it appears that a lashing wire attached to a telecommunications line may have contacted SCE’s power line above it, possibly starting the fire,’ SCE spokesman Chris Abel told CNN.
Fire officials said 700 people are battling the two fires, and on Monday two of them were critically injured.
The men, aged 26 and 31, suffered second- and third-degree burns while battling the Silverado Fire, Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy told reporters.
Fennessy visited the injured firefighters in the emergency room, but was unable to talk with the firefighters, as each is intubated.
‘They were not in a position where they could speak with me,’ Fennessy said. ‘Our firefighters are some of the bravest in the world. This is a very hazardous job.’
A firefighter watches the Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda on Monday
Yorba Linda was blanketed with smoke on Monday as the Blue Ridge Fire blazed out of control
Yorba Linda is seen from a distance, with the fire in the hills clearly visible on Monday
Residents are silhouetted as they watch the Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda, California on Monday
Firefighters position in a residential area and monitor flames climbing a ridge toward homes at the Blue Ridge Fire
The Blue Ridge Fire near Yorba Linda broke out on Monday and is classed as being entirely uncontained
Firefighters work at controlling the spread of the Blue Ridge Fire in Yorba Linda, Orange County, on Monday
The University of California, Irvine suspended all campus operations due to hazardous smoke and ash, university officials announced.
The fire is being driven by strong, erratic winds estimated to be about 20-30 miles per hour, with gusts of 60-70 mph.
Irvine listed six community centers where care and reception facilities were set up; as of Monday afternoon, three were listed as full.
‘We are asking everyone to comply with the evacuation orders for their safety and the safety of our first-responders,’ said Christina Shea, mayor of Irvine.
‘The City of Irvine continues to open care and reception facilities for our displaced residents.’
Another fire – dubbed the Green Fire – broke out northeast of the Silverado Fire in Orange County hills, between Yorba and Corona.
More than 33 million people are under red flag warnings in California and the Southwest, including San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
In the north of California, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) turned off power for 355,000 customers, in a move which affected one million people.
California is currently seeing some of its highest wind gusts of the year, increasing the dangerous risk of downed power lines which can spark fires.
According to the Associated Press, a Mount St. Helena weather station north of San Francisco in the Bay Area recorded an 89mph gust on Sunday, with sustained winds of 76mph.
Firefighters monitor the progress of the Blue Ridge Fire on Monday near Yorba Linda
The Blue Ridge Fire has burnt through 3,000 acres as of Monday evening
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has turned off power for 355,000 customers in northern California