Orange County blaze likely first of many
The blaze was ignited by flames that spread from a stolen car that was set ablaze, said Miller. “It was intentionally set, so that makes it arson,” he said. The car was a 2004 white Honda Civic that had been stolen from Riverside County, said John Nicoletti, spokesman for city of Anaheim. He said investigators had been in Riverside County all Monday working leads and were also reviewing security tape from Highway 241 to try to identify who ditched the car. “We’re looking for anybody who was traveling along the 241 toll road early Sunday that may have any information about seeing people around a vehicle such as that,” Nicoletti said. A red-flag alert for fire danger had been issued going into the weekend, and the forecast of winds, extremely low humidity and heat proved true as Southern California stayed on pace to have the driest winter in decades. ANAHEIM – A fierce blaze that whipped through brush lands among neighborhoods of multimillion-dollar homes during the weekend likely foreshadows an intense wildfire season as Southern California emerges from an abnormally dry winter, firefighters and forecasters said Monday. “With the current conditions we’re seeing, if we do have fires, we’re looking at real extreme fire behavior,” said Capt. Steve Miller of the Orange County Fire Authority. Even as firefighters predicted full containment of the 2,036-acre Anaheim Hills fire by 6 a.m. today, crews Monday had to jump on new blazes – 5 acres in Camarillo and about 10 acres in Los Angeles’ rugged Griffith Park. A 1,005-acre blaze that began Sunday in rural Riverside County was expected to be surrounded Monday evening. The Anaheim Hills blaze broke out Sunday and forced hundreds of people to temporarily leave their homes as hot, dry Santa Ana winds spread it over an area equal to about three square miles. One house was damaged and two outbuildings were destroyed. Another home initially reported as damaged was not harmed, Miller said. The last time it was this dry was in the 1923-24 season when 2.5 inches of rain was recorded through March 22, 1924. Only about 2.4 inches of rain have fallen in downtown Los Angeles since the July 1 start of the rain year, and forecasters said it was unlikely there would be any rain in March. Normal annual rainfall in Los Angeles is 11.43 inches. Santa Ana, Orange County’s seat, received only 1.81 inches of rain between July 1 and March 11 – about one-fifth of normal. At least four Orange County cities hit record highs Sunday, including Fullerton with 97. At 92 degrees, Los Angeles was one degree shy of breaking a record set in 1916. Temperatures to the east in Riverside County reached 104 degrees Sunday, a fire spokeswoman said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!