What is the Orange County Bond Fire? 25,000 people evacuated, power shut off amid inferno that continues to grow

The Bond Fire started with flames at one home in Silverado Canyon on Bond Road, before it reached nearby vegetation and spread out of control because of the high winds

                            What is the Orange County Bond Fire? 25,000 people evacuated, power shut off amid inferno that continues to grow
Bond Fire burns shortly after sunrise in the Silverado Canyon area of Orange County on December 3, 2020 near Irvine, California (Getty Images)

A Bond fire that erupted in Orange County, about 50 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, shortly after 10 pm on Wednesday, December 2 night, has now swallowed more than 7,000 acres of land and is proving to be a danger to several canyon communities. The fire was earlier reported to be moving towards the southeast, out of the foothills on Thursday, December 3 and is expected to burn through the weekend.

Bond Fire, gets its name from it origin, a structure fire in Silverado Canyon on Bond Road, that fully engulfed a home. Strong gusts pushed flames into the nearby vegetation. The biggest fire that has engulfed Silverado Canyon was fueled by the high wind speed which topped 70 mph (113 kph). The 4000-acre fire started spreading rapidly with the help of powerful gusts, turning it violent within hours.


At a press conference on December 3 at 3 pm, Chief Brian Fennessy with the Orange County Fire Authority said the brush fire has burned through 7,200 acres and hasn't been contained. 25,000 people have been evacuated, and 500 firefighters are on the scene. He said the fire had "significant potential for growth", and that even if residents didn't currently see smoke or hear sirens, if they had any doubt they should evacuate.

The unpredictable nature of Santa Ana wind was impossible to tackle by the firefighters as the fire moved towards the South-east. Colleen Windsor, a spokeswoman said, “When crews arrived, it was a fully engulfed house and the winds were extremely strong and they pushed flames into the vegetation.”  Capt Thanh Nguyen of the Orange county fire authority told CBS LA TV, “We’ve seen the wind change also drastically, so that’s what we’re telling all our personnel to be aware of – that constantly changing wind.” 

Just two months ago, the fast-moving Silverado Fire struck the same Loma Ridge that's now being threatened by the Bond Fire.  The new emerging fire is also risking power cut-offs in several areas, the officials have noted. After the fire started on December 3, Southern California Edison was forced to disconnect power for more than 15,000 homes and businesses along with de-energizing lines for approximately 271,000 customers in seven counties during the high gusts of winds as a precautionary measure. 

San Diego Gas & Electric cut off  24,000 customers by December 2 night with another 73,000 who risk losing the connection. “We recognize losing power is disruptive, and we sincerely thank our customers for their patience and understanding,” the officials said

California is witnessing the worst year in terms of fire damages. A report states overall 6,500 sq miles (16,835 sq km) have been already burned due to several fires in the year resulting in damage of more than 10,500 homes and at least 31 people have been killed by fire this year. 

A list of canyon communities which must be immediately evacuated has been published by the Orange County Sheriff department.

Mandatory evacuation list

Modjeska Canyon

Silverado Canyon

Williams Canyon,

Foothill Ranch east and

Foothill Ranch north

Portola Canyon

Black Star Canyon

and Baker Canyon.

Along with that, a voluntary evacuation list has also been released which consists of Borrego Canyon, Baker Ranch, Live Oak Canyon, Trabuco Canyon, Rose Canyon, Cowan Heights, Lemon Heights, and Holy Jim Canyon. For any evacuation related query, Orange County is constantly updating their Twitter account.

Several evacuation centers have also been stationed plus roads have been closed as a precautionary measure. Santiago Canyon Road remains closed from Jackson Ranch Road to the 241 Freeway. A hotline has been created by the Orange county to help the residents, (714-628-7085).

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