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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
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Sherburne587641
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Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
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Kandiyohi408122
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Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
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Benton299451
Winona276930
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Douglas260337
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Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
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Becker205415
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Steele19497
Isanti190617
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Carlton185816
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Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
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Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
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Roseau11964
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Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
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Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
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Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
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Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
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Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
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