Amid Fierce Winds, 100K Ordered to Flee California Fires

2 firefighters critically injured near Irvine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2020 7:21 AM CDT
Amid Fierce Winds, 100K Ordered to Flee Calif Fires
Crews battle the Silverado Fire in Irvine, Calif., on Monday.   (Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP)

California prepared for another round of dangerous fire weather Tuesday even as crews fought a pair of fast-moving blazes in the south that critically injured two firefighters and left more than 100,000 under evacuation orders. Some of the fiercest winds of the fire season drove fires up and down the state Sunday night and Monday before easing, but they were expected to resume overnight and continue into Tuesday morning, though not to the earlier extremes, per the National Weather Service. Forecasts called for Santa Ana winds between 50mph and 80mph at times over much of Southern California, with some of the strongest gusts howling through Orange County, where two blazes sped through brushy hills near major urban centers, per the AP. A fire that broke out around dawn Monday prompted evacuation orders for thousands of homes in the area of Irvine, while a few miles away another blaze did the same in the Yorba Linda area.

More than 100,000 people were told to flee the fast-moving flames; one home was reported damaged. Two firefighters, one 26 and the other 31, were critically injured while battling the larger blaze near Irvine, according to the county's Fire Authority. They each suffered second- and third-degree burns over large portions of their bodies and were intubated at a hospital, officials said. Southern California Edison reported to the state's Public Utilities Commission that it's investigating whether its equipment might have sparked the blaze. The utility said a wire that lashed a telecommunications line to a supporting cable may have struck a 12,000-volt SCE conducting line above it. Nearly two dozen wildfires were reported in Northern California on Sunday night and Monday, but all were rapidly contained without serious damage.

(Read more California wildfires stories.)

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