California’s massive statewide firestorm grew even bigger Monday morning when the wildfire around Anaheim Hills threatened to engulf exclusive Orange County.
While gale-force winds blew embers into intense infernos in scenic Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties starting late Sunday night — killing 10 and burning 1500 structures by Monday evening — the “Canyon Fire 2” was just getting started.
It is not known how the brush fire started at the intersection of the 91 and 241 freeways in Orange County at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Monday, but it spread very rapidly into the dense, brush-covered hillsides.
By 4:00 p.m., multiple news outlets were covering a news conference where fire officials reported that “several” structures had been burned to the ground, with over 1,000 people evacuated as the fire grew to over 5,000 acres. The fire spread quickly toward the more densely populated communities of Tustin and the City of Orange.
The Los Angeles Times reported that six structures had been burned, NBC Los Angeles affiliate (NBC 4) reported that the number of structures burned might be as high as seven, and KFI News stated that the number might be as high as eleven.
Anaheim Fire Battlion Chief Marty Ortiz told NBC4 that firefighters were more concerned with saving lives than counting losses with such a fast-moving fire.
At a hastily called press conference in Anaheim Monday afternoon, Oritz was emphatic about the priority in which the fire would be fought. He put saving lives first, followed by saving structures, and then followed by perimeter control.
With fires raging unconfined all over the state, CalFire resources are at a breaking point, forcing Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba Counties at approximately 10:00 a.m., adding Orange County to the declaration later in the day, according to Los Angeles-based NPR station (89.3 KPCC).
The Times reported that by Tuesday, firefighting resources were “gonna be as stretched as we can be,” quoting Steven Beech of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Unfortunately for all the fire-ravaged portions of the Golden State, weather forecasts call for more strong winds and warm temperatures for the next several days.