CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST (CBSLA) – A brush fire Monday tore through an area of the Cleveland National Forest that officials estimated hadn’t burned in nearly four decades.
The blaze in the Holy Jim Canyon area of Orange County started just after 1 p.m. and quickly grew to as large as 100 acres, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
By mid-evening, the fire had already scorched more than 1,200 acres in near triple-digit heat and minimal wind, officials said. By night’s end, it had reach over 4,000 acres and zero percent contained.
A massive plume of smoke could be seen from miles away as SKY2 flew overhead.
Precautionary evacuation orders were issued for Holy Jim community, which is home to several cabins. Two structures were confirmed destroyed.
Two firefighters were injured. At least one hiker – located far away from the flames – was removed from the location.
Late Monday, the forest service said it had approved 14 fixed aircraft and eight helicopters to aid in the firefighting effort.
“If you have this much aircraft going all through the night, we should be able to make great progress,” said Capt. Tony Bommarito with the Orange County Fire Authority.
Holy Jim Canyon resident Tilson Schumate told CBS2 News he and his wife barely made it out of their cabin before the area was overtaken by flames.
“We’re in the cabin only five minutes, but that five minutes the flames had already come up over the hill[…] so those cabins are gone for sure,” said Schumate.
Some flights at John Wayne Airport were rerouted due to the fire.
The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the Rancho Santa Margarita Bell Tower Regional Community Center located at 22232 El Paseo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. 92688.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Wire services contributed to this report.)