The year 2020 just won’t end.
Thousands upon thousands of Californians are enduring the effects of mandatory evacuations in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles, as wildfires are being driven by the Santa Ana winds.
The Silverado Fire near Irvine and the Blue Ridge Fire near Yorba Linda, fire officials said, have zero containment. Officials said two members of the 500-strong firefighting crew were critically injured with second- and third-degree burns. Both are on ventilators.
According to Southern California Edison, the blaze may have begun because of overhead power lines. “… [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.
The Orange County Fire Authority reported that more than 60,000 people in the Orchard Hills area were under mandatory evacuation orders on Monday.
“The wind is crazy, my family has been through it in Malibu,” Ruby Johnson, who was part of the evacuation, told CBS L.A. “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 Orange County area were reaching up to 70 miles per hour. As if the fear of the fires spreading weren’t enough throughout the state, power companies have instituted blackouts for more than 300,000 customers served by Northern California Edison and Southern California Edison.
California Fire has reported a record 4 million acres burned this year and that fires have killed 31 people.