Silverado Fire: 2 Firefighters Critically Injured, Evacuations For 90,000 Residents
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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.
- Acreage: 7,200
- Containment: 0%
- Structures threatened: N/A
- Resources deployed: 500 personnel
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.
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.
- 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
SCHOOL CLOSURES & EVACUATIONS
The following schools are under evacuation orders:
- Northwood High School
- Portola Springs
- Loma Ridge
- Canyon View
- Santiago Hills
- Le Port
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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