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Hurricane-force winds fanning wildfires in California

Posted at 2:14 PM, Dec 03, 2020

Damaging winds are agitating wildfires in Southern California on Thursday, forcing firefighters to stifle the flames.

The largest of the fires was the Bond Fire, which claimed 7,200 acres of Orange County vegetation by early Thursday afternoon. The inferno was 0% contained as of Thursday afternoon, and doubled in size in just a matter of a few hours.

Much of Southern California was placed under a red flag warning, high wind warning, and fire weather watch. Gusts are expected to reach 65 mph throughout the region, with some areas topping 80 mph gusts.

The National Weather Service warned any fire that develops on Thursday could spread rapidly. There is also concern of down trees and power lines, which could add to the wildfire threat.

Orange County Fire Authority issued mandatory evacuation orders for seven areas, and an additional seven areas were placed under voluntary evacuation orders due to the Bond Fire.

Fire officials in Orange County said they were called to a structure fire in Silverado Canyon late last night that had spread into the brush.

"We had erratic, strong Santa Ana winds that quickly pushed the flames from the house into the vegetation," said Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy. "The fire grew rapidly."

Fennessy said the Bond Fire has drawn a "robust response" from multiple agencies. Five-hundred firefighters are working to stop the Bond Fire, Fennessy said.

As of mid-afternoon, Fennessy said a number of homes were damaged, but did not have an exact number.

Orange County Fire Authority confirmed that two firefighters were injured battling the fire.