ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif. (KABC) —
A wind-driven brush fire raced through the Anaheim Hills area, charring between 4,000 to 5,000 acres and igniting several homes ablaze on Monday.
The fast-moving vegetation fire prompted evacuations for homes in Anaheim Hills, Orange, Orange Park Acres and North Tustin and triggered freeway closures in the area. The blaze was 0 percent contained and was impacting between 3,000 to 4,000 residents.
At least five homes were seen on fire along Canyon Heights Drive. Winds quickly pushed the flames from a ridge onto homes. The gusty conditions also blew around hot embers, causing the fire to spread from house to house.
VIDEO: Embers spread fire to multiple homes on Canyon Heights Drive
Several homes along Canyon Heights Drive in Anaheim Hills caught fire as the wind carried embers from house to house on Monday.
An area resident named Adam was seen hosing down his friend’s house along Canyon Heights Drive – as a house just across the street was engulfed in flames.
“We piled like 25 kids from Running Springs into our car, just got them away. Their parents came and picked them up at our house,” he said.
He said he’s lived in the area for years and knows how fierce the winds can get.
“It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better,” he said.
Two other homes — one on Tamarisk Drive and another on a private street off of Tamarisk Drive – were also burned in the blaze.
At an afternoon press conference, officials confirmed that at least six structures were damaged in the blaze but emphasized the figure was not exact.
The fire was first reported shortly before 10 a.m. on the eastbound 91 Freeway near the 241 interchange. By 4:30 p.m., the fire was between 4,000 to 5,000 acres, according to Steven Beach of Cal Fire.
The blaze, which was initially estimated to be 25 acres, quickly jumped the 241 Freeway and spread into the surrounding areas, which are densely populated.
A map shows the location of the Canyon Fire 2, which spread quickly in the Anaheim Hills area on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017.
Five hundred fire personnel are battling the aggressive flames, Beach said. One firefighter was injured, possibly from smoke inhalation. The firefighter was airlifted to UCI Medical Center.
Wildlife was seen running from flames during the Canyon Fire 2 brush fire in the Anaheim Hills area.
The growing blaze prompted the temporary closure of both sides of the 91 Freeway. It was back open as of 4 p.m., but one lane remained closed. The eastbound side of Imperial Highway, and the 241 toll lanes were also shut down in both directions.
— Anaheim Fire &Rescue (@AnaheimFire) October 9, 2017
The Anaheim Fire and Rescue Department said the blaze, which has been dubbed the Canyon Fire 2, quickly spread due to the winds. The area saw sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts of up to 40-45 mph. The winds were expected to decrease in strength in the evening.