Freeway Complex Fire

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Freeway Complex Fire
Freeway Complex Fire
Freeway Complex Fire along the 91 Freeway near Yorba Linda
LocationSouthern California
Cost$16.1 million (2008 USD)
Date(s)November 15, 2008 at 9:01 AM – November 25, 2008 at 8:00 AM
Burned area30,305 acres (12,264 ha)
Ignition source

Freeway Fire source: Faulty catalytic converter

Landfill Fire source: Faulty power lines
Land useMixed; residential and wilderness
Injuries (non-fatal)14 firefighters
Fatalities0
 
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Freeway Complex Fire
Freeway Complex Fire
Freeway Complex Fire along the 91 Freeway near Yorba Linda
LocationSouthern California
Cost$16.1 million (2008 USD)
Date(s)November 15, 2008 at 9:01 AM – November 25, 2008 at 8:00 AM
Burned area30,305 acres (12,264 ha)
Ignition source

Freeway Fire source: Faulty catalytic converter

Landfill Fire source: Faulty power lines
Land useMixed; residential and wilderness
Injuries (non-fatal)14 firefighters
Fatalities0

The Freeway Complex Fire was a wildfire in the Santa Ana Canyon area of Orange County in the US state of California. The fire is notable for the extensive property damage in Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda. 314 residences were destroyed or damaged in those two communities.

Summary[edit]

Freeway Complex Fire, also known as the Triangle Complex Fire or Corona Fire, began 9:01 a.m. PDT November 15, 2008, along the Riverside Freeway (California State Route 91) in the riverbed of the Santa Ana River located in Corona, California.[1] Coordinates: 33°52.9′N 117°39′W / 33.8817°N 117.650°W / 33.8817; -117.650 The fire spread west and north into the hillsides of Yorba Linda and south into Anaheim Hills, where multiple businesses and residences were destroyed. It also burned homes in Olinda Ranch along Carbon Canyon Road in Brea, burned through much of Chino Hills, then spread north into Diamond Bar.

The Landfill Fire, also known as the "Brea Fire," was reported at 10:43 a.m. PDT on Saturday, November 15, 2008, and started near the 1900 block of Valencia Avenue in Brea, just south of the Olinda Landfill. It quickly spread West and eventually jumped the Orange (57) Freeway.

The Landfill Fire merged with the Freeway Fire at 3:30 a.m. PDT on November 16, 2008. At approximately 7:00 a.m. PDT the two fires were officially renamed the Triangle Complex Fire. Around 12:45 p.m. the "Triangle Complex Fire" had been renamed again to the "Freeway Complex Fire" still using the OCFA incident number CA-ORC-08075221.[1][2] According to the final cause report released by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on January 4, 2010, the cause of the Freeway fire was a faulty catalytic converter, which the State of California requires in every motor vehicle for the purposes of cutting down emissions.[3]

Causes[edit]

The preliminary cause of the Freeway Fire was thought to be the result of a vehicle exhaust system igniting roadside vegetation. The fire investigation report was completed by the end of March 2009. According to the final cause report released by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on January 4, 2010, the cause of the fire was a faulty catalytic converter.

The Landfill Fire was investigated by the Brea Police Department, along with investigators from the OCFA. The fire was determined to have been caused by inadequate maintenance of power lines supplying electricity to equipment in the Brea-Olinda Oil Field. The electrical lines were owned by the BreitBurn Management Company in Los Angeles. Investigators believe arcing or a discharge of electrical current from the power lines caused the brush near the lines in the fields northeast of Valencia Avenue and Carbon Canyon Road to ignite.

Structures Damaged or Destroyed [4][edit]

This house in Hidden Hills had not yet begun to be rebuilt as of May 2010. Many similar properties remain razed in Yorba Linda and elsewhere.

Burn Areas[edit]

It was calculated that 30,305 acres (12,264 ha) were burned,[5] including 90% of Chino Hills State Park.[6] The calculated acreage burned would make the fire the fourth largest fire on record in Orange County History behind the 1967 Paseo Grande Fire, Steward Fire of 1958 and the Green River Fire of 1948.[7]

Evacuations[edit]

Chino Hills State Park burn area

About 40,000 were evacuated. Areas under mandatory evacuation during the fires included:

There was also an evacuation in Corona.[8]

Freeway closures[edit]

Closure of State Highway 91
Smoke from the Freeway Complex Fire over the Pacific Ocean toward Catalina Island as seen from Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. This photo was taken at 1pm.

The Freeway Complex Fire forced the closure of the Riverside (91) Freeway, the Chino Valley (71) Freeway and the 241 Transportation Corridor. The Landfill fire (a.k.a. Brea Fire) temporarily closed the Orange (57) Freeway in northern Orange County.

School closures [9][edit]

Other Fires in the Southland[edit]

Preceding this fire was an outbreak to the northwest, the Sayre Fire in Sylmar (November 14). Both were fires were preceded by an unrelated fire along the Pacific Coast, the Tea Fire in Santa Barbara and Montecito, which had ignited on November 13.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Orange County Fire Authority. "Freeway Complex Fire Report". Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  2. ^ CAL FIRE NEWS. "Landfill Fire". Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  3. ^ NBC Southern California. "Catalytic Converter Started Freeway Complex Fire". Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  4. ^ CAL FIRE. "CAL FIRE Freeway Complex Fire Information". Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  5. ^ Carpenter, Eric; Irving, Doug; Robbins, Gary (November 16, 2008). "150 + homes destroyed; Fire threatening 1,000 residences". The Orange County Register. 
  6. ^ California State Parks. "2008 Chino Hills rain threat" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2008. [dead link]
  7. ^ OCFA Board of Directors (April 23, 2009). "Freeway Complex Fire After Action Report". Freeway Complex Fire After Action Report. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  8. ^ OCFA. "OCFA 2008 News Releases". Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  9. ^ OCFA. "OCFA 2008 Press Release #17" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2008. 

External links[edit]