Orange County’s Bond Fire More Than Half Contained

December 7, 2020 Updated: December 7, 2020

Firefighters continue to make progress battling Orange County’s Bond Fire in Silverado Canyon, as the Southern California region remains under a Red Flag Warning for critical fire weather.

Fire crews on Dec. 7 had the fire 60 percent contained, with 7,375 acres burned, according to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA).

The OCFA said 1,489 fire personnel are still working on the incident: mopping up hotspots, constructing firelines, and patrolling the area to mitigate other hazards.

All previous mandatory evacuation orders have been reduced to evacuation warnings, allowing anyone to return home.

However, the incident update provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) notes that due to the ongoing Santa Ana winds combined with dry conditions, “there is still potential in some areas for a strong wind event to spread fire and threaten adjacent communities.”

According to the National Weather Service, a Red Flag Warning will remain in effect for Southwestern California until Dec. 8 at 10 p.m. The warning is due to low humidity and 25 to 35 mile per hour winds, with isolated gusts up to 70 miles per hour.

The Bond Fire has destroyed 31 structures, with another 21 structures damaged, according to OFCA Capt. Thanh Nguyen in a Twitter video. Another 5,780 structures were threatened by the fire’s close proximity.

The OCFA warned those cleaning up ash on their property to be very cautious when doing so, and to wear long sleeve shirts, pants, shoes, and gloves, even if the ash looks cold, noting there can still be dangerous hidden hot spots in the area.

Nguyen also warned of trees or poles still standing upright on a resident’s property that could have been burned, because they can present a risk of falling at a moment’s notice.

Saddleback Valley Unified School District, which canceled both hybrid and distance learning at Foothill Ranch Elementary and Portola Hills Elementary on Dec. 4 due to the fire, returned all schools to the hybrid instruction model Dec. 7.

Most roads closed during the peak of the fire have now been reopened, with the exception of hard road closures at Highway 241 at Santiago Canyon Road, and Santiago Canyon Road at Silverado Canyon Road. Additionally, Santiago Canyon at Ridgeline Road is open to resident traffic only.

As of 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, Southern California Edison (SCE) had shut off power to 18,445 homes in the region due to the high risk of wildfire, although none were in Orange County. Another 192,655 homes remain under consideration for power shutoff however, with 13,119 of them located in Orange County.

Fire crews have used 102 fire engines, five water tenders, 10 helicopters, nine dozers, and 10 helicopters in battling the blaze.

The large blaze started as a house fire on Bond Road in Modjeska Canyon at approximately 10:14 p.m. on Dec. 2, although it still is undetermined what caused it, according to Cal Fire.

Fire officials still do not have an official estimate as to when the Bond Fire will be fully contained.

Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewVanVoorhis