Crews battle Silverado Fire as some Irvine residents return home

IRVINE (KUSI) – Thousands of Irvine residents evacuated due to the Silverado Fire were returning home Wednesday morning as firefighters worked to contain the blaze, which has blackened 13,354 acres and is only 5% contained.

The repopulation was a “testament to the hard work of all firefighters on the ground and in the air that have worked hard the past two days to protect life and property,” Concialdi said, adding that no homes have been damaged or destroyed as a result of the Silverado Fire.

At its height, 70,000 people were under evacuation orders in Irvine and another 9,500 evacuated in Lake Forest, according to the OCFA and Lake Forest officials. It was unclear how many residents remained evacuated.

About 1,200 personnel were assigned to fight the fire, Concialdi said.

At least 14 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft battled the fire, according to OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy, who said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection would take command of the Silverado and Blue Ridge fires.

The fire erupted at 6:47 a.m. Monday in the area of Santiago Canyon and Silverado Canyon roads in the Santa Ana Mountains.

Late Monday, Southern California Edison told California officials that a lashing wire may have contacted its overhead primary conductor, sparking the fire. SCE sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission on Monday night acknowledging it had overhead electrical facilities in the area where the blaze broke out.

Five firefighters have been injured in the Silverado blaze, Fennessy said. Two are in critical condition and the three others have been treated for minor injuries at local hospitals and released, the fire chief said.

Those wishing to donate to the injured firefighters can contribute to the OCPFA Fallen Firefighters Relief Fund at http://www.ocfirefighters.org/.

Officials have been told the next 24 to 48 hours will be critical in their recovery. They are 26 and 31 years old. Both sustained second- and third- degree burns about 12:15 p.m. Monday, one over 65% of the body and the other over half the body, Fennessy said.

Both firefighters were intubated at OC Global Medical Center in Santa Ana, he said.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes warned “looky loos” to stay out of the area because they can clog up roads needed for first responders to quickly respond to emergencies.

The sheriff also said unscrupulous con artists are using the fires to trick residents into thinking they’re donating to a good cause, but Barnes said police and fire agencies will never call for donations, so people should hang up on anyone purporting to represent police and fire seeking donations.

Categories: California News, Wildfires