The Santa Ana winds that have battered the region over the last few days slackened overnight, allowing firefighters still working in the Silverado Canyon area to surround more of the Bond fire that has been burning there since Wednesday, officials said.
Firefighters reached 50% containment of the fire by Sunday morning, according to the Orange County Fire Authority. So far, the Bond fire has burned 7,375 acres.
“Firefighters took advantage of milder conditions overnight to construct and reinforce fire lines, which continue to hold,” fire authorities said in a statement. “They will work through the day to extend these fire lines and improve containment.”
Despite the better weather, thousands of canyon area residents and people living in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains remained under evacuation orders.
Fire officials said forecasters expected the winds to return by Monday morning, threatening the gains they’ve made. They said the National Weather Service was likely to issue a red flag warning.
“There is still potential in many areas for a strong wind event to spread the fire and threaten adjacent communities,” they said.
So far, the Bond fire has destroyed 28 structures and damaged another 19. That number could still go up — fire officials said damage assessment teams had combed more than half of the burn area, so they still had more work to do. Details on all buildings lost so far were not available Sunday morning.
The fire started late on Wednesday night, after Southern California Edison turned off the power to residents in the Silverado and Santiago canyon areas.
Winds pushed the fires quickly along the canyon walls, sending hundreds of residents fleeing in their cars. Officials did not have an estimate for when they could return home.
Fire officials have not said what they think caused the fire. A criminal investigation was being conducted at the house fire on Bond Way that immediately preceded the start of the larger wildfire. Authorities still have not said why that fire was under investigation.
Source: Orange County Register