Southern California wildfires force thousands to evacuate their homes

The approximate location of the fire

He said the flames cleared much of the fuel that endangered homes, but that fire fighters will be fighting the blaze amid a 90-degree heat, gusty wind and dry air. Evacuations were ordered on Dominguez Ranch Road, San Almada Road, San Ponte Road, San Viscaya Circle, San Sebastian Circle, San Ramon Drive, San Alvarado Road, Mt. Elena Circle, Mt. Tesoro, Mt. Palmas and Mt. Cantara Circle, according to the Corona Fire Department.

A wildfire that ignited Monday on the border of Orange and Riverside counties in Southern California has surged to 2,000 acres, forced the shutdown of two lanes of a major freeway and spurred the evacuation of about 1,000 people.

An evacuation shelter has been opened at the Corona High School gymnasium. It was just 5 percent contained late in the evening.

An estimated 300 homes in west Corona were under a mandatory evacuation, with between 1,000 and 1,200 residents affected, Anaheim Fire & Rescue officials said.

By 3 p.m., the fire was spreading at a "rapid rate" as roughly 100 firefighters were on scene along with helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. The winds were shifting between the sea breeze from the southwest to the offshore flow from the northeast.

Authorities ordered residents of all homes south of Green River Road - from the 91 Freeway to Trudy Lane, including the Orchard Glen Tract - to leave as more than 300 firefighters trudged through steep, rugged terrain. "With these weather conditions, things can change very quickly out there", said Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority.

Crews were setting backfires, in order to keep the wildfire from crossing the freeway.

Traffic was backed up for several miles near the 91 and 71 freeway interchange as morning commuters made their way past the fire about 6 a.m. Tuesday. "But we're asking the public, if possible, to avoid the eastbound 91", which was still reported to be congested early today.

Authorities are saying 20 to 25 mile-per-hour winds are fanning the flames.

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