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Blue Ridge Fire: 2nd Orange County Blaze Prompts Evacuations In Yorba Linda

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

A second fire erupted Monday in Orange County, prompting evacuations in Yorba Linda.

The Blue Ridge Fire started near the Green River Golf Club earlier in the day and has so far burned more than 1,000 acres.

Evacuation orders were given for residents north of the 91 Freeway and east of Gypsum Canyon. Shortly after, the Hidden Hills community was put under mandatory evacuation orders.

This fire came just hours after a dangerous, fast-moving fire erupted farther south. The Silverado Fire has already scorched more than 7,000 acres and left two firefighters critically injured.

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 1,120
  • Containment: 0%
  • Structures threatened: N/A
  • Structures destroyed: None
  • Resources deployed: Almost 200 firefighters

EVACUATIONS

Check the Orange County Emergency Public Information Map to see if you may be in an evacuation zone.

This fire is burning not far from the Silverado Fire. For more information on closures, evacuation centers, and more, see our coverage of that fire.

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

This is a developing story. We fact-check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

FIRE RESOURCES

YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

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‘This Is Going To Be Brutal’: City Of Los Angeles Faces $400-$600 Million Shortfall

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City Hall from Grand Park on Tuesday March 24. Chava Sanchez/ LAist

“Ugly.” “Horrendous.” “Brutal.”

Los Angeles City Council members on Monday searched for the appropriate words to describe the city’s fiscal crisis.

City budget analysts released a report on Friday detailing how COVID-19 has knocked revenues even lower than projected, at the same time that unexpected costs have driven spending up and the city has agreed to defer planned furloughs for civilian employees. The projected gap for the budget year that began July 1 has grown to $400-$600 million, according to City Administrative Officer (CAO) Rich Llewellyn.

The City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee heard from analysts and department heads who painted a dire picture of the city’s balance sheet, and what it may take to fix it.

“I cannot overstate the revenue challenge,” said Llewellyn, adding he predicts program cuts that will “certainly impact services on which our residents rely.”

In September, the council declared a “Fiscal Emergency” to allow the city to implement furloughs amounting to a 10% pay cut for 16,000 civilian employees.

The city also tried offering employee buyouts to reduce costs, but only a fraction of eligible employees actually volunteered for the “Separation Incentive Program.” It’s now expected to save just $2.6 million this year.

Meanwhile, labor unions successfully negotiated an alternative plan to defer the furloughs until at least 2021. Instead, many employees will take an unpaid day in November and April, but receive an unspecified floating holiday, according to SEIU Local 721, which represents many civilian city workers.

“We look forward to working with city leaders to continue aggressively identifying any and all cost-saving options that will above all guard the vital services LA City residents count on and protect the workers on the frontlines of those vital services,” SEIU 721 President Bob Schoonover said in a statement. He added “it is still too soon in this fiscal year to make any drastic decisions.”

Layoffs have already been floated: Last month, Mayor Eric Garcetti asked city managers to identify places to cut -- including “non-critical” services and employee positions. That was based on a worst-case scenario of revenues falling $200-$400 million short.

Budget chair Paul Krekorian said city departments will have to walk away from programs that aren’t part of their “core services.”

“We need to be prepared to say the city cannot afford to do X, Y or Z anymore,” Krekorian said.

During the public comment period, activists who have been calling for the city to reimagine community safety called in with recommendations.

“There’s no way to make that math work when we ignore the elephant in the room,” said Ricci Sergienko with The People’s City Council. “You need to defund the police.”

Councilmember Mike Bonin made a public plea to the union representing sworn officers, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, to reopen contract negotiations.

“I’m urging them, please to come to the table,” Bonin said. “The best way you can protect and serve Los Angeles now is shared sacrifice. This city and this city government is bleeding.”

Police union President Craig Lally dismissed the idea in an emailed statement. “With murders up 26% and shootings up 23%, and no sign of slowing, more cuts to police resources make zero sense and put Angelinos at risk,” Lally said. “We’ve already made sacrifices to support City budget shortfalls, they need to look elsewhere."

Krekorian said the city will continue to find savings, but ultimately, personnel costs such as public employee contracts and pensions will have to be addressed.

“Every general manager in the city is being asked to savagely cut their budgets right now.” he said.

READ THE CITY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER'S REPORT:

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Silverado Fire: 2 Firefighters Critically Injured, Evacuations For 90,000 Residents

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Firefighters work as the Silverado Fire burns toward a home in Orange County on October 26, 2020 in Irvine, California. The fire has prompted mandatory evacuations of 60,000 residents and has grown to 4,000 acres. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

This story is no longer being updated. Follow our coverage of the Silverado Fire for Tuesday, Oct. 27 >>

This story was last updated at 6 p.m.

Check back with us in the morning for fresh updates, and follow these official sources for updates throughout the night:


A wildfire broke out in the Irvine area early Monday amid dangerously strong Santa Ana winds, prompting evacuation orders for some 90,800 people and burning two firefighters severely.

The fire started at 6:47 a.m. in the area of Santiago Canyon Road and Silverado Canyon Road, according to a post from the city of Irvine.

At about 12:15 p.m., two handcrew members, 26 and 31, were critically injured with second and third degree burns, according to the Orange County Fire Authority. Half of one firefighter's body and 65% of the other's were burned. Both have been intubated.

Orange County Fire Chief Brian Fennesy said he visited the injured firefighters at the hospital, who he described as "gravely injured." He added that the department is giving them support through their chaplan program, and asked that everyone keeps them in their thoughts and prayers.

The area is currently under a red flag warning due to strong, dry Santa Ana winds, which are expected to continue through tomorrow. Gusts of up to 84 mph have been observed in the area, according to data from the National Weather Service.

In videos taken on the ground, the wind can be seen bending trees and brush, and the speakers’ voices are muffled by the noise.

The fire has jumped State Route 241 and is threatening homes in the area. Air units had been supporting firefighters on the ground but were grounded because of the high winds.

At 4:30 p.m., Irvine Mayor Christina Shea joined a Facebook live update, to urge residents to comply with evacuation orders.

Fire officials said no structures have been lost yet, within the city of Irvine.

Aircraft that would normally be dousing the area with fire retardant, have been grounded due to unsafe conditions created by high winds. Officials are hoping to launch them when and if those winds die down.

"It much tougher to [put those fires out] without that help from above," Fire Chief Brian Fennesy said.

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 7,200
  • Containment: 0%
  • Structures threatened: N/A
  • Resources deployed: 500 personnel

BACKGROUND

The area that's burning last burned in the Santiago Fire back in 2007.

That fire consumed 28,000 acres and destroyed 42 structures. Fuel is lighter this time around because of the previous fire, but there are far more homes threatened as developments have expanded.

A firefighter works during the Silverado Fire in Orange County on October 26, 2020 in Irvine, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CAUSE

Nothing is confirmed yet, but Southern Claifornia Edison has notified the state that it's power line may have sparked the fire.

The report says "it appears that a lashing wire that was attached to an underbuilt telecommunication line may have contact SCE’s overhead primary conductor which may have resulted in the ignition of the fire."

An internal investigation at SCE is ongoing, according to the report.

EVACUATIONS

Mandatory:

  • All residences from Irvine Boulevard south to Trabuco Road and from Jeffrey Road east to Portola High School
  • Previously: Area north of Irvine Boulevard between Bake Parkway and Jamboree Road
  • Communities in the city of Lake Forest, Baker Ranch and Foothill Ranch

Check the Orange County Emergency Public Information Map to see if you may be in an evacuation zone.

SCHOOL CLOSURES & EVACUATIONS

The following schools are under evacuation orders:

High Schools:

  • Northwood High School

Elementary:

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

Montessori:

  • Le Port
  • Northwood
  • Little Explorers

These Tustin Unified schools evacuated to Beckman High School:

  • Orchard Hills: students moved to Beckman High School for parent-pickup
  • Hicks Canyon: student pickups from school
  • Myford: student pickups from school

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified:

  • Bryant Ranch School: Students being bused to Esperanza High School for reunification (1830 Kellogg Dr, Anaheim, CA 92807)

EVACUATION CENTER

  • University Community Center (FULL)
  • Quail Hill Community Center (FULL)
  • Los Olivos Community Center (FULL)
  • Harvard Community Center (FULL)
  • Rancho Senior Center (FULL)
  • Las Lomas Community Center: 10 Federation Way
  • Turtle Rock Community Center: 1 Sunnyhill, 92603
  • Newport Coast Community Center: 6401 San Joaquin Hills Rd., Newport Beach, CA 92657
  • Village Church of Irvine at 77 Post (opens at noon for anyone needing a place to go)

Note: Officials say the evacuation centers allow pets, but residents also have the option of dropping off their pets at Irvine Animal Care Center.

ROAD CLOSURES

  • SR 241 from Santiago to the 133
  • Portolla from 241 to Jamboree
  • Santiago Canyon Road from Cooks to the 241

In addition, the Southern Open Space Preserve, which includes Bommer Canyon, Quail Hill, and Shady Canyon trails, is closed.

An Orange County firefighter looks for hotspots near a residential area in the Silverado Fire October 26, 2020 in Irvine, California. (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

This is a developing story. We fact-check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

Reporter Jill Replogle is reporting from the field. Reporter Jacob Margolis is providing additional context and background. KPCC producers are making calls and confirming details from the studio. Brian Frank is keeping this story updated.

FIRE RESOURCES

YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

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The Silverado Fire Area Burned Not That Long Ago

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A palm tree burns in a residnetial area in the Silverado Fire October 26, 2020 in Irvine, California. - The wind-driven fire broke out this morning and quickly scorched 2,000 acres in Orange County California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN B

The same area of Orange County that’s burning in the Silverado Fire today burned 13 years ago in what was described as one of the county's "most disastrous" wildfires in decades.

The Santiago Fire broke out on October 21, 2007 and consumed more than 28,000 acres, destroyed 42 structures, and caused an estimated $28 million in damages.

“That was a watershed event in Orange County’s history,” said Mike Rhode, a fire consultant and former Battalion Chief of the Orange County Fire Authority, who was on the 2007 incident.

“The fire is actually replicating fire behavior that we experienced during the Santiago Fire in [2007]. It started very close to the same origin under very similar wind conditions,” he said.

“That’s a known high wind location in Orange County, so it’s a place where the fire gets an accelerated start.”

Rhode predicts that as the fire comes down the mountain towards Irvine, the front will expand towards both North Tustin in the northwest and Portola Hills in the southeast.

That doesn't mean the fires will play out in the exact same way. There are some key differences between this time and last:

  • This time around, response times and reinforcement requests have been much faster than a decade ago, when it took three days to get outside help, according to Rhode. In 2007, firefighting resources were stressed because of a particularly awful October.
  • More structures are threatened this time around as developments have expanded into the hills. However, homes built after 2008 in high risk areas are supposed to be more fire resistant due to updated building codes.
  • The brush on the mountains is much less dense, as it hasn't yet recovered from the Santiago Fire. That said, the grasses and smaller fuels that've popped up tend to burn fast, resulting in speedy fire spread.

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More Kids Are Testing Positive For The Coronavirus In L.A.

Updated
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(Los Angeles County)

In September, an average of about 50 children tested positive for COVID-19 every day in Los Angeles County. Since then, the number has doubled to an average of 100 daily cases.

Older children are more likely to test positive. Twelve to 17-year-olds make up the most cases, followed by children between the ages of 5 and 11.

“These are concerning increases that most likely relate to both an increase of mixing among children at a variety of activities and the higher rate of community transmission,” said County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Although children tend to be less affected by the virus, Ferrer said some become so sick they have to be hospitalized. Children in all age groups have been hospitalized for COVID-19 in the county.

L.A. County remains in the most restrictive reopening tier due to ongoing widespread transmission. On Monday, the county hit two more grim milestones, with health officials reporting a total of 7,000 recorded deaths and more than 300,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

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Landlord Group Urges Federal Judge To Halt LA Eviction Ban

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A woman wearing a mask walks past a wall on La Brea Ave. in Los Angeles bearing graffiti asking for rent forgiveness amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

The Apartment Association of Greater L.A. filed a federal lawsuit against the city in June, alleging L.A.'s "unconstitutional and overreaching abuse of power" had forced landlords to absorb the financial losses suffered by their tenants during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, the city passed emergency orders banning evictions if renters were unable to pay because of hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic. In late August, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a California state law known as the Tenant Relief Act of 2020. Under the new law, no tenant can be evicted before Feb. 1, 2021 because of rent owed due to COVID-19 hardship.

Last month, lawyers for the apartment association filed a motion for an emergency order halting the city’s moratorium. After two hours of testimony Monday from AAGLA’s lawyers and representatives from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Judge Pregerson expressed disappointment over the standoff.

“It’s a tragedy that the lack of an economic solution has caused essentially what we’re dealing with, which is economic warfare,” Pregerson said. “It’s a tragedy that fine people on both sides of this lawsuit have to be pitted against each other.”

A recent UCLA study found that 449,000 people in 365,000 renter households in L.A. County are at high risk of being removed from their homes because of the economic recession triggered by COVID-19.

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Edison Cuts Power To 21,000 Homes To Prevent Fires As Santa Ana Winds Blast

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Cross-hatch areas shows where power has been cut; tan and brown areas are under consideration mid-day Monday. (Screenshot: Edison website)

Southern California Edison cut power to more than 21,000 customers Monday to keep power lines and equipment from sparking new fires during some very strong Santa Ana winds.

Most of the outages were in the foothills of San Bernardino County. Portions of Sylmar, Santa Clarita, and other foothill areas have also been cut, as has a portion of Orange County near the Silverado Fire.

Once power is cut, the company says it could take until Tuesday or Wednesday to be restored, as the utility must wait until winds calm down. The power lines also have to be inspected for damage.

More outages could happen; the utility says several areas in Edison’s vast service area are being considered for shut-off during Monday’s winds. Edison customers can search their own addresses at this website to see if their homes or businesses are in those neighborhoods.

After large utility companies like Edison were blamed for their power lines causing destructive wildland fires, the state Public Utilities Commission permitted them to turn off power to some homes in fire-vulnerable areas during hot, dry and windy weather.

The company cut power to about 200,000 customers in 2019, the first year of large-scale fire prevention outages.

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WATCH: City Of LA Implements New Mental Health Alternative To Law Enforcement

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Screenshot from Mayor of LA Facebook page

Mayor Eric Garcetti joined several concilmembers and city officials today, along with LAPD Chief Michael Moore and LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas, to announce the city's new Therapeutic Transportation Pilot Program, a system of vans staffed with mental health experts that will provide an alternative 9-1-1 response for Angelenos struggling with mental health issues.

Watch the announcement above and stay tuned for updates and analysis from LAist reporters later this afternoon.

Santa Ana Winds Are Back In SoCal, Along With Red Flag Warnings

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Strong, damaging winds are blowing across Southern California today, bringing increased fire danger and possible power outages.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning through 6 p.m. Tuesday for Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties.

"This is a particularly dangerous situation for the L.A. County Mountains due to a combination of damaging wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph, single digit humidities, and very dry vegetation with the worst conditions occurring between [2 p.m. and 11 p.m.] on Monday," forecasters wrote.

The strong winds are expected to knock down trees and branches, create hazardous driving and boating conditions, and could cause delays at the Hollywood Burbank and Long Beach airports.

NWS officials also offered this advice for all the Halloween decorators out there:

Wind gusts were expected to reach 50 mph in coastal regions, up to 65 mph in the valleys and up to 80 mph in the mountains.

But on Monday morning, wind gusts above 90 mph were being measured in the San Gabriel Mountains south of Santa Clarita, and a fast-moving fire was reported in the Irvine area, prompting evacuation orders for some 60,000 people.

MORE:

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Was The Police Shooting Of Anthony McClain Justified? Experts Disagree.

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A memorial for Anthony McClain across the street from La Pintoresca Park in Pasadena grew over the weekend after the 32-year-old was fatally shot by a police officer on Aug. 15, 2020. Robert Garrova / LAist

On August 15, Pasadena Police Officer Edwin Dumaguindin shot and killed 32-year-old Anthony McClain as he ran away from a traffic stop. The incident sparked angry protests.

The police department said the officer fired because McClain was carrying a gun and glanced back over his shoulder as he ran. It released dashboard and body-cam video that show the entire incident.

We asked three use-of-force experts to review the footage.

Two of them thought the shooting seemed justified. One felt it may not have been.

READ OUR FULL STORY HERE:

MORE

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Morning Briefing: The Sounds Of The World Series

Updated
Published
Cody Bellinger celebrates after the teams 4-3 victory against the Atlanta Braves in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Good morning, L.A.

The usual number of die-hard fans aren’t packing Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas for this year’s World Series between the L.A. Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. Instead, the arena is at about one-quarter capacity, with a meager 11,000 attendees each night.

But if that’s the case, where are all those crowd noises coming from? Well, we have local sound designer Fred Vogler to thank for them. Normally the principal sound designer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vogler has lent his skills to the MLB games this season.

Vogler told my colleague A Martínez that adding in realistic-sounding crowd reactions not only makes the games more fun to watch, but it has an effect on the players, too:

"To see the [players do the] happy dance, the fist pumping thing — that kind of thing — was really the kind of excitement that we wanted to provide ... I think Justin [Turner] even said something about adrenaline. It brought a little more significance to the at-bats and some of the things being done."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, October 26

A Pasadena police officer fatally shot Anthony McClain in the back as he ran away from a traffic stop. The police say he was holding a gun; Robert Garrova asks use-of-force experts to review the video.

Aaron Schrank has the latest on a legal challenge put forth by Southern California’s largest landlord group, which urges a federal judge to immediately halt L.A.’s eviction ban and rent freeze enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drive through the Upside Down at the Stranger Things experience, learn about the relocation of L.A.'s original Chinatown, check out comedy and music from Lost Moon Radio, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events. Plus, find the best ways to celebrate and explore the religious and cultural traditions of the Day of the Dead (think ofrendas, catrinas, and mezcal mummies). Christine N. Ziemba brings us all that and more.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Make Way For Mountain Lions: Plans for a massive wildlife crossing that will span 10 lanes of the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon and allow endangered mountain lions, as well as other wildlife, to cross safely were released last week.

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County public health officials have confirmed 830 new cases of the coronavirus and four new deaths attributed to the disease. Today’s numbers bring the total in the region to 299,760 positive cases and 6,993 deaths.

World Series: When sound designer Fred Vogler, who normally works with the L.A. Philharmonic, found he had some time on his hands, he took on a new challenge. He’s now crafting the crowd sounds you’re hearing during this year’s Dodgers-Rays World Series.

Election 2020: The Staples Center was one of 100 voting centers in L.A. County to open over the weekend for voters who want to cast their ballot (or drop it off) in person. In the interest of transparency, you can watch the L.A. County vote operation live via webcam.


Photo of the Day

A line of voters outside The Staples Center before it opened as a vote center on Saturday morning.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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