Update on County Response to Blue Ridge and Silverado Fires

Following the outbreak of the Blue Ridge and Silverado Fires on Monday October 26th, Orange County worked quickly to evacuate residents and animals while protecting communities from the dangers of the fires.

“I am grateful for the bravery of our first responders who risk their lives fighting these fires to protect all of us. The County of Orange and our dedicated employees have worked diligently to support the response efforts,” said Chairwoman Michelle Steel. “I pray for the speedy recovery of  the two firefighters who remain in critical condition and for the safety for all of those affected by the fires.”

On Tuesday, October 29th, Michelle Steel, Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, signed a declaration of emergency requesting California Disaster Assistance Act funding for local government property damage, State Private Nonprofit Organizations Assistance Program funds for local nonprofits to help those affected, FEMA and Small Business Administration funding.

By the morning of Thursday, October 29th, 40% of the Silverado Fire was contained with 13,390 acres burned and no structures damaged. Meanwhile, the Blue Ridge Fire stood at 30% containment with 14,334 acres burned and 7 structures burned, while 1 was a total loss.

Frank R. Bowerman landfill sustained significant damage to its environmental control and stormwater infrastructure, and continues to be closed to the public, with waste being diverted to the Olinda and Prima Deshecha landfills.

OC Animal Care has been active in assisting the animal population by directing pet owners to shelters for their pets as well as providing trained volunteers to assist in the evacuation of large animals. OC Animal Care further evacuated the OC Zoo and the horse stables at the Irvine Regional Park, where they were quickly and safely provided shelter at the Santa Ana Zoo. Currently OC Parks is patrolling the closed park facilities and working to conduct fire suppression and repair, while continuing to repopulate zoo animals and horses at Irvine Regional Park.

In response to the fires, OC Parks immediately opened all access points and engaged in communication with all impacted facilities to coordinate evacuation and closures.

The Social Services Agency was the lead agency for mass care and shelters. On Monday morning, the Social Services Agency’s Emergency Management Team was immediately deployed and coordinated efforts with the Red Cross to contact and coordinate with cities to assess their needs. The Social Services Agency further coordinated with the evacuation of assisted living facilities and finding hotel availability for families affected by the evacuations and successfully sheltered 44 families or 100 individuals, who were placed in local hotels. SSA’s Emergency Management Team oversaw the emergency evacuation point at Santiago Canyon Community College.

“While we are expecting full containment in short order, we must continue to follow warnings and instructions from emergency personnel and first responders,” added Chairwoman Steel.

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First elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2014, Michelle Steel represents the residents of the Second District, which includes, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, the unincorporated area of Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. Steel, a successful businesswoman and renowned taxpayer advocate, previously served as Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization where she represented more than eight million people in Southern California, including all of Orange County, as one of the state’s 12 constitutional officers.