LAKE FOREST, CA — Firefighters worked overnight to expand containment of the Orange County Bond Fire. The blaze that began at a house fire in Silverado Canyon exploded on Thursday, reaching 6,400 acres and reaching 10 percent containment as of last report.
As of Friday, all Lake Forest residents, of the approximately 25,000 people forced to evacuate, were allowed to return homes. All other evacuation orders remain in place, officials say.
Approximately 500 firefighters battled the Bond Fire blaze on the ground and in the air. Orange County Fire Authority lauded their partnership with SoCal Edison, that includes the CH-47 Chinook helitanker that can drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass.
In partnership with SOCAL Edison, OCFA operates a CH-47 Chinook helitanker, that can drop 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass. This helitanker has supported the #BondFire from the start. pic.twitter.com/pdK8GNCUqr
— OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) December 4, 2020
“The helitanker has supported the Bond Fire fight from the start,” OCFA Capt. Greg Barta said.
Crews from agencies across southern California arrived offering assistance, holding the fire to 6,400 acres. Orange County Fire Authority used more accurate mapping to show the true acreage burned, reducing a figure of 7,200 acres, previously reported.
During the firefight, two US Forest Service firefighters assigned to the Cleveland Forest were injured, and were taken to a nearby hospital Thursday. They have since been released, officials say.
Evacuated pets were taken to the OC Animal Care Center, and included 17 cats, 10 dogs, 1 rabbit and a guinea pig.
“While the Orange County Fire Authority prevented any human casualties, some animals were lost to the fire,” a city of Lake Forest spokesperson said. “An owl, falcon, raptors (birds of prey), as well as a horse —euthanized at the request of its owner—were lost during the fire.”
Inland Orange County is under a red flag warning until 10 p.m. Saturday for extreme fire danger due to high winds and low relative humidity.
The fire was pushed by Santa Ana winds blowing at a sustained 25 to 35 miles per hour and gusting between 65 and 80 miles per hour.
All roads reopened overnight, save for Santiago Canyon Road, from Jackson Ranch Road to the Eastern Transportation 241 Toll Road Corridor.
On Friday, two Saddleback Valley Unified School District schools remained closed: Foothill Ranch Elementary and Portola Hills Elementary.
Saddleback USD schools that moved to distance learning on Friday included: Del Lago Elementary, El Toro High School, Gates Elementary, Glen Yermo Elementary, La Madera Elementary, Lake Forest Elementary, Melinda Heights Elementary, Olivewood Elementary, Rancho Canada Elementary, Santiago STEM Magnet Elementary, Serrano Intermediate, Trabuco Elementary, Trabuco Hills High School.
Mandatory evacuations were in effect in the Modjeska, Silverado and Williams Canyon areas.
Voluntary evacuations were issued for the following areas:
— Borrego Canyon;
— Baker Ranch;
— Portola Hills;
— Live Oak Canyon;
— Trabuco Canyon;
— Rose Canyon;
— Valley Vista Way;
— Meadow Ridge Drive;
— Cowan and Lemon Heights.
Evacuees were strongly encouraged to stay with family or friends or in a hotel, the OCFA said.
“Due to COVID-19, no congregate shelter is offered,” the authority tweeted about 5:20 a.m. A temporary Orange County Red Cross evacuation point at Santiago Community College in Orange and a new one was opened at El Modena High School.
The Red Cross reported Thursday evening that 170 residents were provided with nearby hotel rooms. Officials have also opened another Red Cross evacuation point at El Toro High School at 25255 Toledo Way in Lake Forest.
This report will be updated.
This article originally appeared on the Mission Viejo Patch