Forty homes were evacuated as firefighters attacked a fast-spreading brush fire scorching hillsides near Fullerton and La Habra neighborhoods Tuesday, officials said.
Aerial footage captured by NewsChopper4 showed smoke billowing over homes in the area of Rosecrans Avenue and Beach Boulevard, next to what was once oil-drilling land.
Police were going door to door evacuating at least 10 streets in surrounding neighborhoods, said Chief Julie Kunze, spokeswoman for the Fullerton Fire Department. The evacuations began from Somerset Lane to Euclid Street.
Evacuation centers were being set up at the Fullerton Community Center, 340 W. Commonwealth Ave. and the La Habra Community Center, 101 W. La Habra Blvd.
The blaze was first reported just before 4 p.m. Less than two hours later, it had advanced within a few hundred yards of homes, fire officials said.
By late Tuesday night, the first was 80 acres and about 95 percent contained.
Water-dropping aircraft, including helicopters and a pair of Super Scoopers, were called in to help protect homes.
Dina Tsuyuki and her twin 13-year-old daughters were ordered evacuated at 4:30 p.m.
They had less than 10 minutes to get out.
Tsuyuki said her friend called her and said, "I think your neighborhood is on fire." She looked out her window and saw smoke.
"It's very frightening," she said. They were "so scared, they just grabbed a few things and got in their car and drove to Brea."
"This is the first time that anything like this has happened," she said. "If they don't get a hold of this, our whole neighborhood could be gone."
Residents said they had not seen that land, spanning about 500 acres, burn in years.
The fire broke out as monsoonal weather brough excessive heat and flash-flood warnings to the region.
The cause of the blaze was under investigation. No injuries were immediately reported.