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Brush fire threatens homes in Orange County, prompts evacuations

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A wind-whipped wildfire was threatening homes in Orange County’s mountain communities, prompting evacuations and warnings early Thursday that the fire could rapidly spread.

A mandatory evacuation order was in effect for residents of Silverado Canyon and Williams Canyon as the Bond Fire spread rapidly to more than 1,000 acres. Residents of Modjeska Canyon are now under an evacuation warning.

Embers from the fire were already igniting new fires across Santiago Canyon Road. “Residents in the area should be prepared to evacuate,” the Orange County Fire Authority said in a tweet.

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The fire authority said just after 11 p.m. Wednesday that a structure fire had extended into nearby vegetation, and that firefighters were on scene with fire helicopters and a helitanker assisting.

Dangerous fire weather conditions are in effect across wide swaths of Southern California as dry, gusty Santa Ana winds are expected from the northeast, with widespread gusts of 30 mph to 50 mph expected and gusts of 50 mph to 70 mph possible in mountain passes and adjacent foothills. “Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,” the National Weather Service said.

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On Wednesday night, significant gusts were already reported, including gusts of up to 49 mph at Santiago Peak.

The National Weather Service office for L.A. County issued an unusual warning of a “Particularly Dangerous Situation” for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and the Santa Clarita Valley, with gusts from the northeast forecast for 55 mph to 70 mph, accompanied by extremely dry air, with relative humidity forecast as low as 4%.

The most severe conditions are expected Thursday from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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