OCFA PIO Greg Barta

Orange County Fire Authority Public Information Officer, Captain Greg Barta, during a live press conference on facebook on Oct. 26. (Screenshot / Daily Titan).

Orange County residents are on high alert due to the emergence of a new fire in Irvine that started around 6:47 a.m. on Monday morning.

The Silverado Fire began in the area of Santiago Canyon Road and Silverado Canyon Road. In about three hours, it consumed 500 acres and eventually jumped to the other side of state Route 241.

In a press conference on Monday, firefighters, police officers, California Highway Patrol officers and Irvine city officials gave updated information on evacuations and fire growth. 

The fire had already burned about 7,200 acres by 4 p.m. with 0% containment. 

“We have mandatory evacuation orders here in the city of Irvine that are impacting approximately 90,800 residents,” said Shane Sherwood, the division chief of the Orange County Fire Authority. 

Brian Fennessy, the department’s fire chief,  said there is no confirmation of structure loss.

According to the City of Irvine’s website, eight care and reception centers have been opened throughout Irvine for residents and pets.

Florentino Olivera, the CH Public Information officer, said that there were major freeway closures heading westbound from the 91 Freeway to Route 241 and Route 133, and from Interstate 5 to Route 241, as a direct result of the fire’s path. 

Windy conditions make it difficult to fight with full resources to stop the fire’s progression, as it could affect the spread and intensity. 

“Obviously we’re dealing with extreme wind and erratic fire behavior,” said Greg Barta, the Orange County Fire Authority fire captain and public information officer.  

Fennessy said that the wind became too unstable, so the air tactical group supervisor had to call off all the aircrafts.

According to the OCFA’s Twitter, two firefighters were critically injured while in the line of duty. About 65% of the first firefighter’s body was covered in second and third-degree burns and the second firefighter with about 50% both are currently intubated. 

“They were working near what we call the heel of the fire, where the fire had started,” Fennessy said. “We don't have any information on what occurred. We have requested the accident review team from the state to come and do the investigation.”

As of Monday the Orange County Fire Authority has yet to announce the cause of the fire. 

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