Homes Evacuated as 2000 Acre Fire Grows

Residents of approximately 500 homes in the area near the Canyon fire in Corona were evacuated, with the total number of evacuees reaching 1500 by Tuesday morning. The fire began on Monday night and by Tuesday morning it had consumer 2000 acres. Crews fought the fire as it burned hillsides within the box canyon. Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi told NBC Los Angeles that suppressing the fire was a "hard-fought battle, and only one home sustained damage."

Three hundred firefighters from a slew of agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, and firefighters from the Los Angeles, Anaheim and Corona fire departments fought the blaze. In addition to the crews on the ground, support was received from a DC-10 that dropped water as well as five helicopters with night-vision equipment and two other planes.

The fire burned for eight hours as a result of strong and shifting winds. As Santa Ana winds continue to push toward the coast, the fire is still in danger of gaining strength. The fire developed alongside the 91 Freeway and crews set backfires in attempts to keep it from crossing the freeway. So far they have been successful but commuters are seeing long delays. Lanes on the east-bound side of the freeway, near Canyon Creek Road, were closed to commuters as fire crews used them to bring in equipment. This caused a back up that reached to the Costa Mesa Freeway, or 55.

Officials urged commuters to find another route, but choices are limited. The 91 freeway is the only available route for those commuting from the Inland Empire to Orange County.

As Santa Ana winds continue to blow, schools in the area have been closed and an evacuation center has been set up at Corona High School. Less than 100 people have arrived to the center so far. With flare-ups expected throughout Wednesday, this fire has yet to be fully extinguished.