Orange County’s second canyon fire in two weeks tears through the hills

Lann Nguyen

According to the OC Fire Authority, with the Santa Ana winds blowing, there is no estimated containment in sight for the fire named “Canyon Fire 2”.

Originating in Yorba Linda, the fire has spread throughout Anaheim Hills, and has burned 4,000 to 5,000 acres so far.

Last shot air drop
As homes are consumed by flames helicopters dowse the area in an effort to help the fire fighters on the ground during the Canyon Fire. Photo credit: Christian Fletcher

Evacuations have been mandated for Orange Park Acres, North Tustin, east Orange and now Anaheim hills, with Amber Alert-style notifications being sent out to Orange County residents.

The flames are traveling fast and firefighters are on the scene. With the teams undermanned and resources stretched thin, some engines were stationed to monitor and call in for support if needed.

On the edge
Orange county fire fighters watch the encroaching blaze climb up the hill in Anaheim Hills on Monday Oct. 9. With no backup, there is not much they can do as engines are scattered all over the eastern hills of OC. Photo credit: Christian Fletcher

Residents are ready with their file cabinets filled with important documents and go-bags to leave as soon as the word to evacuate is given.

“The winds are going in the other direction but we are prepared to leave if they change directions,” said John Dehart, an Anaheim Hills resident. The last time he had to evacuate was in 2008, and they have a safe place to go to his grandma’s house in Placentia.

Checking out the scene
John Dehart a resident near the blazing flames trying to get a glimpse of the firefighters in action. Photo credit: Lann Nguyen

Further south in the Orange Hills where the fire was burning stronger, residents were busy getting their animals out, from small dogs to large farm animals. Several ranches in the area are in the direct path of the fire, adding extra responsibility on the owners of getting their farm animals to safety in a timely manner.

As the mandatory evacuation is announced, many residents with farm animals in the Orange Hills are forced to evacuate their livestock Monday afternoon. Photo credit: Christian Fletcher

The roads were packed as residents headed towards safer ground. Police were blocking several roads all around the fire and residents rushed to get home and evacuate.

Residents flee their homes after the evacuation is sounded from the second canyon fire to hit eastern Orange County in two weeks. Photo credit: Lann Nguyen

“We will probably evacuate to the beach,” said Kristen Fejtek, an Anaheim Hills resident. She grew up in the area and her father is a firefighter in Yorba Linda.

In the seven years she’s lived at her current house, there has been a few fire scares, but nothing as scary as today.

“I even went into my neighbor’s house to get some more of their belongings for them,” said Fejtek. “They have a newborn baby so they evacuated earlier in the day.”

Presidio and Skylark
Not much stands in the way for the fire as it burns through the Orange Hills towards residential homes on Monday, Oct. 9. Photo credit: Christian Fletcher

“You can really feel the heat now,” said Glen Alciatore, who came to help a friend as the flames were getting closer to the neighborhood.

Firefighters from Fullerton, Yorba Linda and Anaheim are all dispatched to fight the fire currently. More stations are due to dispatch trucks according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

Residents gather together as they watch the encroaching flames crawl up the hill side to their homes Monday Oct. 9. They were informed of the need to evacuate as the first house of their neighborhood was swallowed by the flames. Photo credit: Christian Fletcher

Update 10/10 1:43 p.m.: The second canyon fire is five percent contained as of this morning, and 7,500 acres have been burned according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

There are 1,100 firefighters currently on the ground and several helicopters making drops during the night.

Mandatory evacuations have spread to areas along the Santiago Canyon road.

Twenty-four structures have been destroyed at this point and more are in danger. One firefighter has been injured in the line of duty.

There will be more to come as we follow this story.