500 firefighters are already battling the growing flames as 20,000 homes are evacuated

Early on Monday October 26, 2020, a wildfire broke out in Orange County, California in the area of Santiago Canyon Road and Silverado Canyon Road. The City of Irvine immediately issued an evacuation order that has now grown to 100,000 residents as the fire rapidly spread. Dubbed the Silverado Fire, the fast growing wildfire critically injured two firefighters as it spread to 4,000 acres with no containment.

Later the same day, Southern California Edison filed an incident report with the California Public Utilities Commission stating that “preliminary information reflects SCE overhead electrical facilities are located in the origin area of the Silverado Fire….it appears that a lashing wire that was attached to an underbuilt telecommunications line may have contact [sic] SCE’s overhead primary conductor which may have resulted in the ignition of the fire.”

As the fire continues to rage, UC Irvine has suspended all campus operations due to hazardous smoke and ashes. The wildfire is being driven by powerful but chaotic winds with an estimated speed of 20-30 miles per hour and gusts up to 70 mph. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

Our thoughts and our hearts go out to our colleagues and friends in and around Orange County, especially those who have lost their homes and businesses in this newest horrific fire.

It is with deep gratitude that we recognize the safety personnel and first responders working tirelessly to bring the fires under control and provide aid during this extremely difficult time throughout the affected areas.

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