Brush fire prompts school evacuations, air quality warning

A brush fire that has scorched at least 2,000 acres in Anaheim Hills has forced the evacuation of three elementary schools, and prompted air quality warnings throughout the region.

Students from Running Springs, Anaheim Hills Elementary and Canyon Rim Elementary, all in Orange Unified School District, have been transported to Canyon High School as a precaution, according to a district statement.

Smoke from El Modena High School
Smoke seen from El Modena High School in Orange.

Parents can pick up their children who attend those schools at the high school’s gymnasium at 220 S. Imperial Highway, or they can call 714-532-8000 for the latest information. Additionally, Chapman Hills Elementary closed for the day.

The district has also suspended all sports activities for every school for the rest of the day.

Authorities designated El Modena High School at 3920 Spring St. in east Orange as a Red Cross evacuation center for those who need shelter.

The Canyon Fire 2, which began burning at about 9:40 a.m., has also forced the closure of parts of the 91 Freeway and Santiago Oaks Regional Park and Irvine Regional Park, the Orange County Register is reporting.

A large plume of orange and brown smoke emanating from the fire region could be seen across Orange County through most of the early afternoon. The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued an air quality advisory warning residents to avoid vigorous activities in areas impacted by smoke.

The agency cautioned children and older adults to stay indoors. Here are some additional tips:

  • Keep your windows and doors closed or seek an alternate shelter.
  • Run your air conditioner if you have one and keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.
  • Avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.
  • Avoid worsening the health effects of smoke, don’t use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.

Orange Unified officials said they will determine later in the day whether campuses will close on Tuesday. Parents are asked check throughout the day for updates.

For updates on the fire and other evacuations and road closures, follow Anaheim Fire and Rescue on Twitter at @AnaheimFire and Facebook.