Burning Close to Home

Canyon Fire 2


Janet Han

The the fire burned through the night and severely delayed traffic

Janet Han, Photojournalist

Just two weeks after the previous Canyon Fire, another fire started at nearly the same place. Dubbed Canyon Fire 2, it grew much larger and faster than the original as firefighters struggled to control the dangerous flames and residents rushed to evacuate.

The fire ignited at around 9:20 am on Monday morning around the 91 Freeway and Gypsum Canyon Road before leaping the California 241 toll road (LA Times). It quickly grew and spread to surrounding areas, the smoke growing to rise over YLHS. Students pointed out the smoke with curiosity and dread, many stopping to take pictures and share news about the fire. Some students were forced to leave school early, their houses having been zoned for mandatory evacuations.

Kobi Khong (10) disclosed that he

“had to evacuate because of the fire” and “was afraid of what was going to happen.”

Luckily, he was able to return home, as were many other students who were forced to evacuate.

One of the biggest reasons that the fire managed to grow so quickly and became so hard to tame was because of the Santa Ana winds currently blowing through Southern California. These winds were reported to be at 40-45 mph in places during the daytime. Because of the strong winds, firefighters found it even more difficult to try and put out the fire. Trying to attack the flames from overhead proved to be dangerous for helicopters in some places, forcing firefighters to wait until the winds died down at night time before using night vision to douse the flames (KPCC).

Steven Beech, an incident commander with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, disclosed information on just how difficult the fire proved to be. Speaking to reporters on Monday, the day the fire started, he said that because the fire was moving so quickly, firefighters were focusing on moving people out of the line of the fire rather than trying to fight it. He also added that firefighters would hopefully be able to try and face the flames late Monday or Tuesday when more people were brought to safety and the wind became less intense.

As of roughly 9 pm on Monday night, the fire grew to over 6,000 acres, destroying at least 24 structures and putting over 5,000 more in risk (KTLA 5). Anaheim’s fire department also uploaded an official tweet saying that there are over 1,000 firefighters were trying to subdue the fire. Officials reported that the fire was hardly contained at all, with 0% containment as of 6 pm on Monday.

The fire continued to grow over the next few days but was soon able to slowly be contained. On Thursday, it was reported to be at least 60% contained, but only after burning 9,217 acres, destroying 13 houses, and damaging 21 more (ABC 7). Luckily, the inferno is expected to be fully contained and extinguished by Sunday.

Meanwhile, a series of wildfires also erupted on Sunday in the Northern California regions in and around Napa Valley. Currently, there are 21 active fires in Northern California that have killed at least 29 people, burned over 191,000 acres, destroyed more than 3,500 buildings, and left roughly 1,000 people missing with 4,000 people dislocated. California’s governor, Jerry Brown, has declared a state of emergency for four of the Northern California counties affected by the fires, as well as for Orange County (Washington Post).

So far, the numerous fires igniting across California are a source of concern and heartbreak for many. Luckily, Canyon Fire 2 was able to be contained, but only after leaving considerable destruction.