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The Silverado fire began as a small, 10-acre vegetation fire this morning, but has since grown to 4,000 acres, prompting the evacuation of about 60,000 Irvine-area residents. It is currently 0% contained.
The blaze started at Santiago Canyon and Silverado Canyon roads at about 6:45 a.m. The Orange County Fire Authority has about 500 personnel on the scene, working against “erratic” winds that can reach up to 60-70 mph. Not only do the high winds pose a greater fire risk, but they’ve also grounded air support.
The National Weather Service has issued wind and red flag warnings for much of the Southland. In L.A. and Ventura counties, the red flag warning will remain in effect through Tuesday. According to the weather service, these Santa Ana winds can be particularly dangerous in L.A. County mountain areas due to a combination of low humidity and dry vegetation.
Red flag warnings are also in effect through 6 p.m. on Tuesday for San Bernardino and Riverside county mountain areas, the Inland Empire, San Gorgonio Pass and inland Orange County.
Just how strong are these winds? The weather service reported gusts of up to 96 mph in the San Gabriel Mountains south of Santa Clarita this morning. A list of the highest winds of the day is available here.
Due to the increased risk of fire, Southern California Edison warned residents of temporary power shutoffs to prevent its electric system from igniting any blazes. A map of the affected areas is available here.
SoCal Edison has already caused, well, a lot of wildfires with devastating consequences. Last week, Ventura County Fire Department investigators announced that faulty SCE equipment sparked the Easy fire, which burned 1,860 acres in October of last year. In addition, SCE recently sent a letter to the California Utilities Commission indicating that branches hitting an overhead conductor may have started the Bobcat fire, which has burned over 115,000 acres to date and is 92% contained. Last year, SoCal Edison agreed to pay $360 million to settle lawsuits related to the Thomas fire, started by a downed power line in 2017, and the Woolsey fire, which burned over 96,000 acres in L.A. and Ventura counties in 2018.
For updates on the Silverado fire, residents can follow the OCFA on Twitter, sign up for alerts on AlertOC.org, and check this map for evacuation orders and other warnings. The City of Irvine website also lists care and reception facilities, school closings and other key information. If you need help evacuating, call (949) 529-4774 to connect with the City of Irvine/Irvine Police Department Emergency Operations Center.