Firefighters Silverado
© AP
Firefighters battling the fire haul a hose while working to save a home in the Silverado community in Orange County, California.
A new California wildfire forced residents to flee their homes early Thursday after the blaze exploded in high winds across more than 4,000 acres in Orange County, according to officials.

After an already record-breaking year of wildfires, California was again hit late Wednesday when a house fire quickly spread to tinder-dry brush, sparking the out-of-control Bond Fire, which grew to over 6 square miles in Orange County's Silverado Canyon.

It rapidly spread across the region in winds that topped 70 mph, and by Thursday was burning about 4,000 acres, the Orange County Fire Association (OCFA) said on Twitter alongside dramatic video clips.

"We have received reports that there may be multiple structures damaged from the fire," the fire department said, saying they were "in the process of verifying the number involved and the extent of damage."

Dramatic video showed the region once again overwhelmed with red skies as officials ordered mandatory evacuations.


More than 500 firefighters backed by helicopters were battling the blaze, which by Thursday remained completely uncontained, officials said.

Officials ordered mass evacuations for several canyon neighborhoods near the city of Lake Forest — an area that in October had been battered by the Silverado Fire, which forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate.
CA blaze
© Orange County Register via ZUMA Wire
The blazing fire, driven by high winds, burns the hillsides west of Santiago Canyon Road near Silverado Canyon, California.

The new blaze broke out as Southern California utilities cut the power to tens of thousands of customers to avoid the threat of wildfires.

Southern California Edison cut power to about 15,000 homes and businesses by late Wednesday and was considering de-energizing lines serving about 271,000 customers in seven counties throughout the windy period, which could last into Saturday.

It was one of the utility's largest precautionary blackouts.

San Diego Gas & Electric pulled the plug on about 24,000 customers by Wednesday night with another 73,000 in the cross hairs.

"We recognize losing power is disruptive, and we sincerely thank our customers for their patience and understanding," the utility said.

California already has experienced its worst-ever year for wildfires with more than 6,500 square miles scorched, a total larger than the combined area of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

At least 31 people have been killed and 10,500 homes and other structures damaged or destroyed.