Several dead, thousands evacuated as California battles devastating bushfires

Long Beach Fire Department Sends “Strike Team” to Assist in Anaheim Hills Fire

State officials say at least 1,500 homes and commercial buildings have been destroyed, and 20,000 people have been evacuated in California wine country.

A brush fire that began on a hillside in Orange County quickly spread Monday into an Anaheim Hills neighborhood, destroying homes and sending thick smoke over the area.

By Tuesday morning, Anaheim Fire & Rescue reported the blaze to be at 7,500 acres.

The blaze is being fought by more than 1,000 firefighters and several helicopters and airplanes brought in to help.

It was just 5 percent contained. Residents south of the 91 Freeway, west of the 241 Toll Road, and north of Nohl Ranch Road, east of Serrano Avenue, are under evacuation orders.

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Mandatory evacuations remained in place Tuesday.

Shifting winds were top of mind for crews on Wednesday.

Santa Ana winds are predicted to "continue through late Tuesday morning across portions of Southwest California", the National Weather Service said in a 3:15 p.m. PDT advisory.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known, however, it started in the same area as the first Canyon Fire at the Anaheim-Corona border last month.

The National Weather Service issued a "Red Flag Warning" on Tuesday morning for inland Orange County as winds are expected to reach between 15-25 miles per hour and gusts touching around 35 miles per hour. As of 3:30 p.m. October 9, the fire is 0 percent contained, according to the Orange County Fire Authority's website.

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Three elementary schools - Running Springs, Anaheim Hills and Canyon Rim - in the Orange Unified School District were evacuated Monday, with students bused to Canyon High School.

More than 100 people are being treated in hospitals for fire-related injuries and smoke inhalation. Twenty-two other structures were damaged by the fire.

In Orange, an evacuation center was established at at El Modena High School, 3920 E. Spring St.

"I don't think the fire itself would be reaching us".

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