90,000 people told to evacuate because of wildfires in Southern California

Not only is a winter storm impacting over 15 million from the deserts to the Plains, but also record cold, near record heat, West Coast wildfires and a tropical system aiming for US shores. CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri breaks it all down.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 5:11 AM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 5:11 AM

A wildfire that nearly quadrupled in size Monday, prompted tens of thousands of people to evacuate and caused two firefighters to suffer critical injuries may have been started by a power company's equipment.

Southern California Edison said a power line may have played a role in the ignition of the Silverado Fire -- which has burned 7,200 acres near Irvine -- a report filed with California Public Utilities Commission shows.

The initial safety incident report describes overhead electrical facilities in the area where authorities think the fire started, but notes there was no activity on the circuit.

"We reported the incident despite seeing no activity on the nearby 12-kV circuit nor any downed power lines because it appears that a lashing wire attached to a telecommunications line may have contacted SCE's power line above it, possibly starting the fire," SCE spokesman Chris Abel told CNN.

The fire grew to its present size in less than a day, sending families in Southern California communities into searches for the safety of friends' homes, hotels or evacuation centers.

Because of the blaze and the new, 3,000-acre Blue Ridge Fire, Orange County Officials told 90,000 people to evacuate.

Fire officials said 700 people are battling the two fires, and on Monday two of them were critically injured.

The men suffered second- and third-degree burns while battling the Silverado Fire near Irvine, Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy told reporters.

Fennessy visited the injured firefighters in the emergency room, but was unable to talk with the firefighters, as each is intubated.

"They were not in a position where they could speak with me," Fennessy said. "Our firefighters are some of the bravest in the world. This is a very hazardous job."

The unidentified men, ages 26 and 31, are part of Orange County Fire Authority's ground crew. The team uses hand tools to stop wildfire flames from progressing, much like hotshots.

Dry conditions, low humidity and windy weather have prompted planned power shutoffs.

There are nearly 320,000 customers without power this evening, according to PowerOutage.US.

The bulk of the customers are managed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for Northern California and Southern California Edison.

Flames and smoke force family to turnaround

Jesse Strickland and his family were among the tens of thousands to evacuate from the Silverado Fire and now his security camera might be the first clue to whether his house has damage.

Strickland and his wife on Monday morning loaded up their two children and three pets into the SUV. As they drove away from their Irvine home, Strickland recorded the orange glow of the fire peeking through thick smoke about 1 mile from their home.

Strickland was forced to turn around and honk his horn as he drove back the way he came to find another route, the video posted to Instagram shows.

"We, fortunately, evacuated earlier this morning around 10ish. Took extra time to get on the freeway but was not too bad as they are now," he said.

The family along with their dog, chinchilla and bearded dragon are at a family friend's house in Chino Hills.

"So far so good," he told CNN.

He said the kids, a 12-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son are fine.

"We are doing well. I think that we were well-prepared and didn't overact in front of our children so they seem to be handling it fine," Strickland said.

Fire officials said Monday afternoon that no structures have been lost to the fire.

College cancels campus activities

The University of California, Irvine suspended all campus operations due to hazardous smoke and ash, university officials announced. Only essential employees -- including those who work in housing and dining -- should report to campus. All other employees were urged to stay or return home.

The inferno began as a vegetation fire at about 6:47 a.m. local time Monday in the area of Santiago Canyon Road and Silverado Canyon Road, according to the city of Irvine.

"The fire started in Silverado Canyon, and helicopters and fixed wing aircraft are on the way," Mayor Christina Shea said in a news release. "The wind is making it move very quickly."

Videos posted by the authority show high winds whipping the flames into a frenzy in burned-out areas.

Fennessy said earlier the blaze was a "major fire" and was moving southwest at a quick pace.

"Our priority right now is getting people evacuated and out of the path of the fire," he said.

Irvine listed six community centers where care and reception facilities were set up; as of Monday afternoon, three were listed as full.

The Silverado Fire comes as the state and region are under major fire risks from hot, dry weather. More than 25 million people are under red flag warnings in California and the Southwest, including San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Cal Fire said Monday that more than 4,000 firefighters are working to fully contain 22 large wildfires in the state in what has already been a historic fire season across the western US.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 557665

Reported Deaths: 7104
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1161051683
Ramsey48076856
Dakota42704422
Anoka38757416
Washington25072274
Stearns21100219
St. Louis16883298
Scott16071117
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Clay784790
Rice7657102
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Benton533897
Mower451332
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Winona439149
Nobles400848
Morrison396359
McLeod396055
Isanti380159
Itasca375553
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Steele364114
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Mille Lacs283850
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 358375

Reported Deaths: 5826
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56091605
Linn20328330
Scott19153235
Black Hawk15566306
Woodbury14917221
Johnson1408481
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Dallas1090996
Pottawattamie10769162
Story1032447
Warren556986
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Sioux506973
Marshall477274
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Wapello4254120
Buena Vista421940
Jasper407870
Plymouth398179
Lee368555
Marion354875
Jones293355
Henry286437
Bremer279460
Carroll279352
Crawford262440
Boone258933
Benton250355
Washington249250
Dickinson242543
Mahaska225250
Jackson218242
Kossuth213163
Clay211325
Tama206771
Delaware203339
Winneshiek194733
Page190421
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Cedar184623
Fayette183041
Wright180535
Hardin180142
Hamilton178249
Harrison176673
Clayton167155
Butler162534
Mills158820
Cherokee157138
Floyd155442
Lyon154941
Madison154319
Poweshiek152833
Allamakee149151
Iowa145724
Hancock143734
Winnebago136231
Grundy135432
Cass134854
Calhoun133211
Jefferson130935
Emmet128840
Shelby128637
Sac127319
Louisa127249
Appanoose126647
Mitchell125241
Union123232
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie118029
Franklin112921
Palo Alto111022
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10020
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Keokuk94830
Monroe94128
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Pocahontas83721
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75716
Lucas74923
Worth7118
Taylor65412
Fremont6149
Decatur5909
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
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