Evacuation Orders Lifted as Firefighters Battle to Contain Blue Ridge Fire

Evacuation Orders Lifted as Firefighters Battle to Contain Blue Ridge Fire
A firefighter sprays water on a scorched tree burned during the Blue Ridge Fire in Yorba Linda, Calif., on Oct. 29, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
City News Service

YORBA LINDA, Calif. (CNS)—The Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda has destroyed a structure, damaged 10 others, burned 14,334 acres and was 39 percent contained by the evening of Oct. 29 as evacuated residents spent their first day back home.

All evacuation orders and warnings were lifted on the morning of Oct. 29 and several highways were reopened.

“A lot of great work has been done over the last two days,” said Operations Section Chief Tim Ernst of the California Department of Forest and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

“We don’t anticipate either of the two perimeters [of the Blue Ridge and Silverado fires] moving much.”

He added, “In fact, yesterday upon flying the fire, even looking at both fires for a combined acreage of probably close to 28,000 acres, we only saw two evidences of smoke. That still doesn’t take away from the fact that firefighters are still out there working all day today and will be for the next few days containing the entire perimeter of both fires.”

There were four helicopters making water drops on the blaze after dark on Oct. 29. Cal Fire reported 1,051 firefighters were battling the blaze, using 210 fire engines and other assorted equipment.

Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Chief Brian Fennessy praised firefighters from Los Angeles County for their help.

“More than 52 agencies have come to our aid,” Fennessy said.

The help from Los Angeles County and Los Angeles departments “absolutely saved us for the Blue Ridge Fire in Yorba Linda,” Fennessy said.

Crews will be mopping up hot spots that might threaten the fire perimeter on the evening of Oct. 29, according to Cal Fire.

High winds, which grounded firefighting aircraft on Oct. 26, were much less of a factor on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29. Roads in the area were able to reopen on Oct. 29, Cal Fire said.

Full containment was expected on Nov. 10, according to Cal Fire.

Firefighters inspect the charred residue of the Blue Ridge Fire in Orange County, Calif., on Oct. 29, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Firefighters inspect the charred residue of the Blue Ridge Fire in Orange County, Calif., on Oct. 29, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The estimation of burned acreage was lowered on the night of Oct. 27 from about 15,200, according to OCFA spokesman Steve Concialdi.

Travis Wylie, a 36-year-old captain with Cal Fire out of San Bernardino, told City News Service the fire was “very active,” saying crews started to get a handle on flames around 3 a.m. on Oct. 28, when the Santa Ana winds started to die down.

“With the fuel moistures and everything, it’s kind of burning erratic. The fuel moistures are really low.”

Said Deputy Chief Dave Williams of the Chino Valley Fire District, “We still have quite a bit of work to do.”

The brush fire, initially called the Green Fire, was reported at 12:55 p.m. on Oct. 26 next to the Green River Golf Club, off of Green River Road and the Riverside Freeway in Corona, according to the Corona Fire Department.

Evacuations were ordered for 5,958 homes in Chino Hills and 2,500 in Yorba Linda. In Brea, 276 homes were ordered evacuated, 680 homes voluntarily evacuated, and no homes were damaged, officials said.

With evacuation orders lifted, the Red Cross has closed its Temporary Evacuation Point at Chino Hills Community Center, spokeswoman Christine Welch said.

Flames from two small spot fires jumped the Corona Freeway on Oct. 27, but were quickly extinguished, said OCFA Capt. Jason Fairchild.

The head of the fire entered Orange County about 1:20 p.m. on Oct. 26 and the flames raced toward Yorba Linda, posing a threat to scores of residences.

A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was secured on Oct. 26 by Gov. Gavin Newsom, which will assist local and state agencies responding to the fire to apply for 75 percent reimbursement of their eligible firefighting costs.

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel signed an emergency declaration on Oct. 27 and asked Newsom to sign one as well for the county to free up more funding.

Drew Van Voorhis of The Epoch Times contributed to this report.
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