IRVINE (CBSLA) – Residents in Lake Forest were allowed to return to their homes Friday after evacuation orders were lifted in a massive wind-driven wildfire in Silverado Canyon east of Irvine.
The Bond Fire has burned 7,375 acres and was 30% contained as of Friday night.
Two firefighters who were injured while battling the blaze Thursday have been released from the hospital, officials said.
Multiple homes have been destroyed, but the exact number is unknown. One couple told CBSLA that four homes were destroyed and seven more damaged just in their Williams Canyon community.
Authorities won’t have an exact total on the number of affected homes until they extinguish all hot spots in the fire, according to CBSLA’s Michele Gile.
— michele gile (@CBSmichelegile) December 4, 2020
While about 500 firefighters were making progress with aggressive air and ground attacks, officials told CBSLA early Friday morning that they were concerned about the next round of Santa Ana winds which will hit over the weekend.
The Bond Fire was sparked by a house fire before 10:15 p.m. Wednesday night in the 29400 block of Silverado Canyon Road, the Orange County Fire Authority reports. The fire quickly spread into the brush and then exploded into a wildfire.
Some residents told CBSLA that because Southern California Edison had shut off power as a precaution against downed power lines, they had little to no cell phone service and did not receive any evacuation alerts. As of Friday morning, 1,596 SoCal Edison customers are without power in Orange County because of the precautionary shutoffs.
“My daughter said she wanted to get some more clothes and stuff, I said, ‘hey just get out of here,'” homeowner Bruce McDougal told CBSLA Thursday. “The firemen were here and they foamed the back of my house and I think that saved it. If those guys weren’t here it would have been gone.”
The flames destroyed McDougal’s cars, trees and deck.
Melissa Mallpass told CBSLA that she and her family lost their home on Wildcat Canyon Road in Silverado Canyon. They were able to evacuate shortly before it burned down. The family has set up a GoFundMe page.
“Very historic,” Malpass said. “If the walls could talk, I heard the Allman Brothers played there, they would do like jam sessions. It’s been around for a very long time. I’m still in shock. It’s very devastating. I’ve seen photos, it’s incredibly hard to see. There’s literally nothing left, nothing.”
The blaze was pushing west towards the area of October’s Silverado Fire, which burned 13,400 acres and forced tens of thousands of residents in Irvine and Lake Forest to evacuate.
Two U.S. Forest Service firefighters were injured battling the blaze Thursday afternoon. They were rushed to local hospitals and their conditions are unknown.
As of Friday evening, mandatory evacuation orders were in place for Modjeska, Silverado and Williams Canyon.
Just before 8 p.m. Thursday, evacuation orders were lifted for Lake Forest and the Foothill Ranch neighborhoods north of Alton Parkway and east of the 241 Freeway. Lake Forest is under an evacuation warning only.
Voluntary evacuations remained in place for Trabuco Canyon and some portions of Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills.
Santiago Canyon Road remains shut down.
The Orange County Fire Authority is holding a community meeting for residents in the area under evacuation order scheduled for Saturday, December 5.
A community meeting is being planned for residents in the areas under evacuation order, tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 5. Details are forthcoming.
— OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) December 5, 2020
The Southland is currently in the midst of a Santa Ana wind event which has prompted red flag warnings throughout the region due to dry, blustery conditions and low humidity which have created ripe conditions for wildfires. Red flag warnings will remain in place for most areas through Saturday night.
The Bond Fire was burning near the site of the Silverado Fire, which broke out Oct. 26 at Santiago Canyon and Silverado Canyon roads, burned 13,400 acres and forced more than 90,000 people to evacuate. Southern California Edison notified California state regulators that its equipment may have been to blame for sparking the Silverado Fire. No homes were destroyed.
The exact cause of the house fire is under investigation.
To help residents who have been affected, visit this GoFundMe page.