Santiago Canyon fire – What started out as a small 20-acre brush fire in Santiago Canyon has erupted into a huge wildfire covering thousands of acres.

Santiago Canyon fire

The Santiago Canyon fire pictured above crossed the 241 toll road, threatening homes in nearby Irvine, which is in Orange County, California.

Strong winds powered by 40-50 mph Santa Ana winds pushed the blaze through Hicks Canyon and on toward the Northwood and Portola Springs residential areas, said Orange County Fire Department Capt. Stephen Miller.

As of 10:00 PM PST, the fire has engulfed 3,800 acres and the gusting winds are creating dozens of hot spot fires throughout the area surrounding Santiago Canyon.

Local firefighters have been battling wildfires all day and exhaustion is setting in just as this blaze is gaining strength from the shifting winds and bone-dry conditions.

In an unusual move, helicopter pilots wearing night-vision goggles are dumping water and fire retardant to try to dampen the rapidly spreading wildfire.

Evacuation orders were issued for the area surrounding Portola and Sand Canyon Avenue.

And that’s the latest news on the Santiago Canyon fire.