Freeway Complex Fire
|Freeway Complex Fire|
Freeway Complex Fire along the 91 Freeway near Yorba Linda
|Cost||$16.1 million (2008 USD)|
|Date(s)||November 15, 2008 at 9:01 AM – November 25, 2008 at 8:00 AM|
|Burned area||30,305 acres (12,264 ha)|
Freeway Fire source: Faulty catalytic converterLandfill Fire source: Faulty power lines
|Land use||Mixed; residential and wilderness|
|Injuries (non-fatal)||14 firefighters|
The Freeway Complex Fire was a wildfire in the Santa Ana Canyon area of Orange County in the US state of California. The fire is notable for the extensive property damage in Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda. 314 residences were destroyed or damaged in those two communities.
Freeway Complex Fire, also known as the Triangle Complex Fire or Corona Fire, began 9:01 a.m. PDT November 15, 2008, along the Riverside Freeway (California State Route 91) in the riverbed of the Santa Ana River located in Corona, California. Coordinates: The fire spread west and north into the hillsides of Yorba Linda and south into Anaheim Hills, where multiple businesses and residences were destroyed. It also burned homes in Olinda Ranch along Carbon Canyon Road in Brea, burned through much of Chino Hills, then spread north into Diamond Bar.
The Landfill Fire, also known as the "Brea Fire," was reported at 10:43 a.m. PDT on Saturday, November 15, 2008, and started near the 1900 block of Valencia Avenue in Brea, just south of the Olinda Landfill. It quickly spread West and eventually jumped the Orange (57) Freeway.
The Landfill Fire merged with the Freeway Fire at 3:30 a.m. PDT on November 16, 2008. At approximately 7:00 a.m. PDT the two fires were officially renamed the Triangle Complex Fire. Around 12:45 p.m. the "Triangle Complex Fire" had been renamed again to the "Freeway Complex Fire" still using the OCFA incident number CA-ORC-08075221. According to the final cause report released by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on January 4, 2010, the cause of the Freeway fire was a faulty catalytic converter, which the State of California requires in every motor vehicle for the purposes of cutting down emissions.
The preliminary cause of the Freeway Fire was thought to be the result of a vehicle exhaust system igniting roadside vegetation. The fire investigation report was completed by the end of March 2009. According to the final cause report released by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on January 4, 2010, the cause of the fire was a faulty catalytic converter.
The Landfill Fire was investigated by the Brea Police Department, along with investigators from the OCFA. The fire was determined to have been caused by inadequate maintenance of power lines supplying electricity to equipment in the Brea-Olinda Oil Field. The electrical lines were owned by the BreitBurn Management Company in Los Angeles. Investigators believe arcing or a discharge of electrical current from the power lines caused the brush near the lines in the fields northeast of Valencia Avenue and Carbon Canyon Road to ignite.
- 187 residential structures destroyed (includes multi-family residences)
- 127 residential structures damaged
- 2 commercial properties destroyed
- 2 commercial properties damaged
- 11 outbuildings/other destroyed
- 32 outbuildings/other damaged
It was calculated that 30,305 acres (12,264 ha) were burned, including 90% of Chino Hills State Park. The calculated acreage burned would make the fire the fourth largest fire on record in Orange County History behind the 1967 Paseo Grande Fire, Steward Fire of 1958 and the Green River Fire of 1948.
About 40,000 were evacuated. Areas under mandatory evacuation during the fires included:
- Yorba Linda - East and South of Village Center to the County Line (Released by 1730 November 16, 2008)
- Brea - east of State College & Brea Blvd/Brea Canyon Rd., north of Imperial Highway, west of Prospect
- Anaheim - West of the 241 freeway, south of the 91 Freeway, north of Canyon Rim Rd., and west of Deer Canyon Park and Fairmont Park including SAVI Ranch. (Released by 1730 November 16, 2008)
- Carbon Canyon - East of Valencia to the County Line including Olinda Village, Hollydale.
- Chino Hills - Sleepy Hollow, Carriage Hills, Oak Tree Downs, Vellano Estates and Golf Course, Los Serranos Ranch, Butterfield Ranch (up to Soquel Canyon Road), Ridgegate Estates & Western Hills Estates
- Diamond Bar - The Country, Falcon Ridge, Chirping Sparrow, Hawk Wood, Running Branch, Fair Wind & High Bluff
Also in Corona there was an evacuation.
The Freeway Complex Fire forced the closure of the Riverside (91) Freeway, the Chino Valley (71) Freeway and the 241 Transportation Corridor. The Landfill fire (a.k.a. Brea Fire) temporarily closed the Orange (57) Freeway in northern Orange County.
- Anaheim Hills Montessori
- Brea Olinda Unified School District
- Calvary Christian School
- Chino Valley Unified School District
- Diamond Bar schools in the Walnut Valley Unified School District
- Esperanza High School
- Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
- St. Angela Merici Catholic School
- St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School
- St. Joseph Catholic School and Preschool
- Vineyard Christian Preschool and Elementary School
- Walnut Valley Unified School District
Other Fires in the Southland
Preceding this fire was an outbreak to the northwest, the Sayre Fire in Sylmar (November 14). Both were fires were preceded by an unrelated fire along the Pacific Coast, the Tea Fire in Santa Barbara and Montecito, which had ignited on November 13.
- Orange County Fire Authority. "Freeway Complex Fire Report". Retrieved 29 November 2008.
- CAL FIRE NEWS. "Landfill Fire". Retrieved 29 November 2008.
- NBC Southern California. "Catalytic Converter Started Freeway Complex Fire". Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- CAL FIRE. "CAL FIRE Freeway Complex Fire Information". Retrieved 29 November 2008.
- Carpenter, Eric; Irving, Doug; Robbins, Gary (November 16, 2008). "150 + homes destroyed; Fire threatening 1,000 residences". The Orange County Register.
- California State Parks. "2008 Chino Hills rain threat" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2008.[dead link]
- OCFA Board of Directors (April 23, 2009). "Freeway Complex Fire After Action Report". Freeway Complex Fire After Action Report. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- OCFA. "OCFA 2008 News Releases". Retrieved 29 November 2008.
- OCFA. "OCFA 2008 Press Release #17" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2008.
- Freeway Complex Fire After Action Report
- Freeway Complex Fire After Action Report Addendum
- Orange County Register Fire Central
- CA-ORC-Freeway Complex
- CAL FIRE Freeway Complex Fire Information
- NASA - Natural-color image of the burned area
- CBS slideshow of the fire
- Catalytic Converter Started Freeway Complex Fire | NBC Southern California