In California: Orange county under siege by wildfire


In Southern California, on Monday afternoon a dangerous fire rapidly ramped up with grassland fires and other spot fires popping up around Los Angeles County. The Silverado Fire in Irvine in Orange County prompted the evacuation of about 90,000 as fierce winds spread flames and smoke horizontally across the landscape. The fire grew to 7,200 acres Monday at midday, threatening numerous homes.

Two Orange County firefighters were critically injured battling the blaze, 26 and 31, were hurt battling the Silverado fire. Both were intubated after suffering second- and third-degree burns over half their bodies. Other fires have also developed across the heavily populated region, including one threatening home in Yorba Linda.

The strong winds halted flights at one of the airports in California, with Ontario Airport shutting down for a time because of severe crosswinds.

Seven Evacuation centers were set up at some  locations, including Los Olivos Community Center, Harvard Community Center, Village Church of Irvine, and Las Lomas Community Center in Irvine

In addition to networks of fire-spotting cameras, firefighters are using heat-sensing equipment aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite to quickly find any developing blazes and direct firefighters to them.

California is in the midst of its worst wildfire season on record, with more than 4.1 million acres burned, which is more than double the acreage burned in the previous record-breaking year. Also, at least 9,200 structures have been destroyed and 31 people are killed. A staggering five of the top six largest fires on record in the state have occurred this season, including the largest, the August Complex. This year, the state saw its hottest August on record, with sizzling temperature records. Then an even more severe heatwave struck in early September, leading to a firestorm of historic proportions. Fuels that have not burned are at or near record-dry levels.


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