Silverado Fire Explodes East Of Irvine, Evacuations Ordered
NEAR IRVINE (CBSLA) – Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate after a wildfire broke out Monday morning in Santiago Canyon east of Irvine amid powerful Santa Ana winds.
The Silverado Fire was reported at 6:47 a.m. in the area of Santiago Canyon and Silverado Canyon roads on the edge of Limestone Canyon Regional Park. Within about three hours it had exploded to 2,000 acres.
The area is located east of Tustin and northeast of Lake Forest. Homes were threatened, although there were no reports that any structures had been damaged or destroyed.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for about 60,000 residents in the Orchard Hills neighborhood along Irvine Boulevard, between Bake Parkway and Jamboree Road, the Orange County Fire Authority reported.
The fire jumped the 241 Freeway from east to west, shutting down the freeway between Santiago Canyon Road and the 133 Freeway.
Several schools were evacuated including Northwood High and Portola Springs, Eastwood, Stonegate, Loma Ridge, Canyon View and Santiago Hills elementary schools. UC Irvine also canceled all campus operations at around noon due to the heavy smoke.
There was zero containment on the blaze. There was no word on a cause.
“The wind is crazy, my family has been through it in Malibu,” evacuee Ruby Johnson told CBSLA. “It’s a crazy thing, never had to experience it ourselves. You can replace clothes and things, but you can’t replace your lives. I’ve got all the pictures and valuables, so we’re ready to go.”
Wind gusts in the area were reaching up to 70 miles per hour. OCFA and CAL Fire crews were battling the fire on the ground and in the air with the assitance of several other agencies.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect for much of the Southland through Tuesday night due to Santa Ana winds, dry conditions and low humidity.
Because of the confluence of variables, the National Weather Service reports the region is seeing the most dangerous wildfire conditions since October of 2019, when the Saddleridge, Tick, Getty, Easy and Maria fires destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands of people to flee in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.