Monday, November 23, 2020
Home News City News Silverado Canyon Fire Forces Evacuations Across Irvine

Silverado Canyon Fire Forces Evacuations Across Irvine

Evacuation orders were issued to over 60,000 Irvine residents today as a rapidly spreading fire burned its way through Silverado Canyon towards the 241 Freeway. What started around 6:45 a.m. as a 10-acre brush fire exploded into a 4000-acre conflagration by 10:45 a.m., according to The Orange County Fire Authority.

At 1:45 p.m., Irvine Police Sgt. Karie Davies said that the evacuation would be expanded south of Irvine Blvd.

“The fire has progressed in the area of Sand Canyon and Irvine Blvd,” Davies said in a text to Voice of OC. “The new evacuation area is from Irvine Blvd. South to Trabuco Road, and from Jeffrey Road east to Portola High School.”

Evacuation orders and updates can be found at the Irvine City Hall Website.

Residents can also get information via the Emergency Information Line at 714-573-6210.

UCI issued a statement at 12:00 p.m. today that all on-campus operations have been suspended for the day, all non-essential staff have been advised not to come to campus. Mandatory COVID-19 testing had been suspended until further notice. Evacuation orders have not been issued for on-campus housing. 

Campus facilities including the Student Health Center, Anteater Recreation Center, Child Care Services, and FRESH Basic Needs Hub are also closed until further notice. Additionally, as of 12:30 p.m., all Anteater Express services have been suspended until further notice.

Davies confirmed to Voice of OC that the evacuation order is still in effect, and evacuation boundaries have not grown. But the scope could be expanded in the coming hours.

Air quality is listed as hazardous, and residents have been encouraged to stay inside and close all doors and windows by the Orange County Fire Authority.

Screenshot of AirNow Fire and Smoke Map provided by Jane Hagen/Courtesy

Mayor Christina Shea has confirmed that multiple homes in the Portola Springs neighborhood have burned. 

“Our number one focus is to protect our residents, ensure their safety, their animal’s safety, and I want to encourage all other residents affected by the smoke to close their windows,” Shea said.

The city is directing evacuating residents to Los Olivos Community Center and Harvard Community Center. The University Community Center, Rancho Senior Center and Quail Hill Community Center are already at maximum capacity.

Due to heavy and erratic winds, air support for the fire has been grounded until further notice. As of 10:30 a.m., over 500 firefighters are on the scene helping to fight the blaze.

A Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) was issued by Utility Southern California Edison at 7:30 a.m. Monday to 3,677 customers in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties. Another 123,000 customers are under consideration for the PSPS as Santa Ana winds blow through the area.

Ian Anzlowar is a 2020-2021 City News Co-Editor. He can be reached at citynews@newuniversity.org.