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RAGING INFERNO Silverado Canyon fire map – Thousands evacuated as 3,600-acre California blaze sparked by house fire threatens homes

RAGING INFERNO Silverado Canyon fire map – Thousands evacuated as 3,600-acre California blaze sparked by house fire threatens homes

 THOUSANDS of people have been evacuated from their homes in California after a blaze in Silverado Canyon sparked by a house fire consumed 3,600 acres of land.

The Orange County Fire Authority said that a structure fire had extended into nearby vegetation just after 11pm on Wednesday as gusts topped 70mph.

A blaze in Silverado Canyon sparked by a house fire consumed 3,600 acres of land
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A blaze in Silverado Canyon sparked by a house fire consumed 3,600 acres of landCredit: AP:Associated Press
Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes following the blaze
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Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes following the blazeCredit: AP:Associated Press

It exploded in size throughout the night and as the sun came up, an enormous plume of smoke was visible for miles.

Dramatic photos and footage show crews battling the blaze in the early hours of Thursday morning, assisted by fire helicopters and a helitanker. 

The Orange County Fire Authority said that a structure fire had extended into nearby vegetation
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The Orange County Fire Authority said that a structure fire had extended into nearby vegetation
Dramatic photos and footage show crews battling the blaze in the early hours of Thursday morning
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Dramatic photos and footage show crews battling the blaze in the early hours of Thursday morningCredit: AP:Associated Press
More than 240 firefighters were battling the blaze, according to the LA Times
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More than 240 firefighters were battling the blaze, according to the LA TimesCredit: AP:Associated Press

More than 240 firefighters were battling the blaze, the Los Angeles Times reported.

According to OFCA, strong winds had caused the blaze to grow from 7 acres to 3,600 and was contained as of 6am on Thursday.

Orange County Fire Authority Captain Thanh Nguyen said crews were scrambling to stay ahead of flames that jumped major roads and people were forced to leave their homes.

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Strong winds had caused the blaze to grow from 7 acres to 3,600 and was contained as of 6am on Thursday
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Strong winds had caused the blaze to grow from 7 acres to 3,600 and was contained as of 6am on ThursdayCredit: AP:Associated Press

The "Bond Fire" forced the mandatory evacuation of residents in the Silverado Canyon and Williams Canyon, while Modjeska Canyon is also under mandatory evacuation orders. 

Red flag warnings of extreme fire danger were in place on Thursday for much of the region due to low humidity, bone-dry brush and heavy gusts of 50mph to 70mph, the National Weather Service said.

Warnings will remain in place until Saturday, while the winds will be strongest overnight and in the early hours of the morning. 

The blaze prompted utilities in the region to cut power on Wednesday in a bid to prevent gusts blowing into tree limbs into electrical equipment or knocking down power lines – the source of devastating wildfires in recent years. 

The ‘Bond Fire’ forced the mandatory evacuation of residents in the Silverado Canyon and Williams Canyon
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The ‘Bond Fire’ forced the mandatory evacuation of residents in the Silverado Canyon and Williams CanyonCredit: AP:Associated Press
Firefighters battling the Bond Fire haul hose while working to save a home in the Silverado community
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Firefighters battling the Bond Fire haul hose while working to save a home in the Silverado communityCredit: AP:Associated Press

Southern California Edison cut power to 15,000 homes and business by late Wednesday night in one of the utilities’ largest precautionary blackouts, USA Today reports.

San Diego Gas & Electric also pulled the plug on 24,000 customers by Wednesday night. 

The utility said: “We recognize losing power is disruptive, and we sincerely thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”

Updating reporters on Thursday morning, OFCA Captain Greg Barta said: "It's a perfect storm.

Local Bruce McDougal hoses down vegetation while working to save his home from the Bond Fire
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Local Bruce McDougal hoses down vegetation while working to save his home from the Bond FireCredit: AP:Associated Press
The local attempted to defend his home amid the severe blaze
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The local attempted to defend his home amid the severe blazeCredit: AP:Associated Press

"We have critically low humidity, fire on the ground, it makes it very difficult for us. The fire is fast-moving."

Voluntary evacuation orders are in place for parts of Lake Forest, from the 241 Toll Road along Bake Parkway to Musick, north to the Irvine Border.

Meanwhile, evacuations were recommended for Borrego Canyon, Foothill Ranch, Baker Ranch, Portola Hills, Live Oak Canyon, Trabuco Canyon, Rose Canyon, and Valley Vista Way, and Meadow Ridge Drive.

The OFCA said: "Residents in those areas are strongly encouraged to seek safety with family or friends, or in a hotel."

It comes as California experienced its worst-ever year for wildfires, with over 6,500 square miles scorched. 

At least 31 people have been killed and 10,500 homes and other structures damaged or destroyed by wildfires. 

The latest fire threat comes as much of California plunges deeper into drought.

Virtually all of Northern California is in severe or extreme drought while nearly all of Southern California is abnormally dry or worse.

The Bond Fire, driven by high winds, burns the hillsides west of Santiago Canyon Road near Silverado Canyon
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The Bond Fire, driven by high winds, burns the hillsides west of Santiago Canyon Road near Silverado CanyonCredit: AP:Associated Press
Flames consume a vintage truck as the Bond Fire burns through the Silverado community
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Flames consume a vintage truck as the Bond Fire burns through the Silverado community

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