Raging wildfire threatens hundreds of homes in Yorba Linda

 An air tanker drops fire retardant drop on a mountain ridge.
An air tanker drops fire retardant on a ridge near the Green River Golf Club on Oct. 26, 2020, in Yorba Linda.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A second brush fire ignited in Southern California amid dangerous high winds Monday, prompting evacuation orders for Yorba Linda, officials said.

The fire started in the Chino Hills area of Corona, west of the Santa Ana River, Corona Fire Department program specialist Denise Aguilar said. The blaze was initially dubbed the Green fire, but Orange County officials are now referring to it as the Blue Ridge fire.

At least one home had burned, and flames were threatening subdivisions north of the 91 Freeway.


The fire was burning near the Green River Golf Club, Aguilar said, but it was heading west into Chino Hills and toward Yorba Linda, where officials reported the fire approaching from northeast of Bryant Ranch Park, on the east side of the city.

By late Monday night, the blaze had burned 6,600 acres, authorities said.

At the Green River Village mobile home park, Residents wandered out of their homes glancing up at the black smokes and hillsides on fire.

Watching it with his daughter was Rodrigo Suarez, 41. He said it was just three years ago when another fire ignited and burned the hillsides across the 91 freeway. He said the mobile home park wasn’t evacuated then and hoped it would not be this time.

Ken Leitner,71 and his wife were ready to go. They had stuffed their vehicles with what they felt they needed: important documents, pet food and other items.

On the driveway of their stucco and tile home in Yorba Linda, they watched the yellow and brown smoke cover the sky and took bites out of their frozen chocolate ice cream.

It’s the second time the Leitners had to deal with a brush fire on this canyon.

In 2008, a fire swept through the area and took out nearly two dozen homes. Leitner said he remembered using a hose to douse flames and protect his home.

The Orange County sheriff called for an immediate evacuation north of the 91 Freeway and east of Gypsum Canyon, including Bryant Ranch Elementary in Yorba Linda. Evacuations included the Bryant Ranch School, where students were shuttled to Esperanza High School in Anaheim. The city of Anaheim tweeted around 2:30 p.m. that the fire was estimated at 700 acres.

The National Weather Service in San Diego warned residents of Yorba Linda to be on “high alert” as the fire was being fueled by gusts of 35 to 45 mph. The city of Anaheim tweeted that the smell of smoke had permeated the air.
Winds in Chino Hills peaked at 78 mph Monday morning around 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

The Bobcat fire, which is still burning, is likely the source of the ash that’s drifting into East Los Angeles and parts of the San Gabriel Valley.

Southern California Edison has shut off power in the area where the fire began.

The Silverado fire, a separate Orange County blaze that ignited near Irvine on Monday morning, had scorched 4,000 acres within a few hours, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.