Calmer Winds Aid Firefighters in Fight Against Blue Ridge Fire as Evacuation Orders are Lifted

The Blue Ridge Fire was 23% contained Wednesday night.

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What to Know

  • One home was destroyed and seven were damaged in the Blue Ridge Fire burning in Orange and San Bernardino counties.
  • The fire is burning in the Chino Hills and Yorba Linda area.
  • About 20,000 structures remain under threat, but calmer winds are in the forecast Wednesday.

As evacuation orders were lifted, relieved homeowners expressed their heartfelt gratitude to firefighters Wednesday as they assessed the charred hillsides revealing just how close flames from the 14,334-acre Blue Ridge Fire came to their Chino Hills homes.

The fire, fanned by shifting winds, blackened hillsides in the neighborhood, but firefighters and adequate defensible space around properties helped save homes.

"All of the sudden it was like, zoom," said Marybeth Lozano, a Chino Hills resident. “The flames were huge. It was right above our house.”

Flames burn near homes.
Flames rise near homes during the Blue Ridge Fire on October 27, 2020 in Chino Hills.

Chino Hills resident Ron Sun looked out his back window Tuesday night to see a hillside glowing orange. Once the sun came up, daylight revealed that the burn scar ends just a few feet from his home

At one point, flames were as tall as the second story of his house.

"I'm still in shock," Sun said. "The flames were so large, I was thinking in my mind, ok, that's it, there's not stopping this fire. They did. The firefighters just did an amazing job."

The brush fin northeastern Orange County damaged seven homes and destroyed one residence. It was 23% contained.

The acreage burned was lowered Tuesday night from about 15,200 earlier in the day, according to Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Steve Concialdi.

Initially called the Green Fire and later renamed the Blue Ridge Fire, the blaze was reported at 12:55 p.m. Monday adjacent to the Green River Golf Club, just off of Green River Road and the 91 Freeway in Corona, according to the Corona Fire Department.

Evacuations were ordered in 5,958 homes in Chino Hills and 2,500 in Yorba Linda. In Brea, 276 homes were ordered evacuated, 680 homes voluntarily evacuated and no homes were damaged there, officials said.

Flames from two small spot fires jumped the 71 Freeway Tuesday, but were quickly extinguished, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Jason Fairchild.

Winds diminished overnight, a good sign for firefighters as they work to increase containment lines. Calmer conditions are expected Wednesday after powerful wind gusts whipped flames early Tuesday.

The flames were huge. It was right above our house.

Chino Hills resident Marybeth Lozano

The Blue Ridge Fire is one of two major fires burning in Orange County. The Silverado Fire forced tens of thousands of evacuations after it broke out Monday. Two firefighters remains hospitalized after suffering burns.

Historically, October is one of the worst months of the year for wildfires in California, due in large part to months of dry conditions and strong fall winds. But in 2020, the state has already seen five of its six largest wildfires during August and September.

As of Sunday, there were 20 major wildfires burning in California. More than 4 million acres have burned this year, far surpassing any previous yearly total on record.

Don't worry! NBCLA photographer Alex Vasquez is OK, and getting off the 71 Freeway near the Blue Ridge Fire where he was just drenched in a water drop. Flames were once again jumping the freeway, which is shut down right now. http://4.nbcla.com/BKvIptY
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