CHINO HILLS (CBSLA) – Residents in Yorba Linda began returning to their homes Wednesday afternoon as high winds that fueled the fast-moving Blue Ridge Fire were no longer a factor, allowing firefighting aircraft to make progress against the blaze.
As of Wednesday evening, the fire — which initially started in Corona before spreading west across county lines into Chino Hills and Yorba Linda — had burned 14,334 acres, destroyed one structure and damaged seven others, officials said.
But with calmer winds and no active fire fronts, containment for the blaze was at 30% early Thursday morning. All evacuation orders and warnings were lifted Wednesday.
“The winds we’ve had today were very calm,” said firefighter Edwin Zuniga, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “I haven’t seen a big push. It’s a light breeze, but nothing significant.”
The blaze broke out just before 1 p.m. Monday in the area of Green River Road and the 91 Freeway on the west end of Corona, near the Green River Golf Club.
Buoyed by powerful Santa Ana winds, the fire quickly spread west, first across San Bernardino County lines into Chino Hills, and then across Orange County lines into Yorba Linda. On Tuesday, 50 mph wind gusts pushed the fire into Chino Hills, where several homes were damaged. Firefighters, however, were able to hold their ground.
“The wind picked up, the fire picked up, you can tell it started coming down the hill, that’s when people were leaving that live on Onyx (Road),” Resident Debbie Nunez-Lewis said Wednesday.
Nunez-Lewis was awed by how the Blue Ridge Fire incinerated the canyon near her Chino Hills neighborhood.
“You can tell the fire stopped all on the edges, before it jumped the road and went to homes, so God bless those firefighters,” Lewis said.
“When you see it just explode behind your house, it’s overwhelming, it really is,” another woman told CBSLA Tuesday.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Red Cross has set up a temporary evacuation point at the Chino Hills Community Center.
Meanwhile, firefighters are also battling the 13,300-plus acre Silverado Fire, which broke out east of Irvine Monday morning and caused more than 90,000 residents to evacuate. Most mandatory evacuations have been lifted. That fire is 25% contained Wednesday.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)