Firefighters were heavily engaged with fires in Telegraph Canyon and Tonner Canyon, south of Diamond Bar, early this afternoon as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger met with officials at the Triangle Complex Fire command post in Irvine.
An arsenal of helicopters and air tankers are bombarding flames encroaching on homes in Diamond Bar.
Assistant Fire Chief Ray Chaney said the goal is to not let the fire jump into Diamond Bar communities. Firefighters are preparing to order residents to evacuate if necessary. A Diamond Bar resident told KCAL/9 TV that mandatory evacuation orders had already been issued.
Chaney said flames are advancing in some areas, and firefighters have stopped flames in others near Diamond Bar.
The winds have been the same as everywhere else; strong and gusty. Mother Nature has not been cooperative at all on this fire," he said.
The Triangle Complex Fire had burned 10,475 acres as of 12:10 p.m. Sunday, including 104 residences, the Orange County Fire Authority reported on its Web site.
A structure at Brea High School was burned, as well as 16 homes in Corona, 70 homes in Yorba Linda and 10 homes and 50 apartments in 10 apartment buildings in Anaheim. Six firefighters have suffered minor injuries.
A total of 1,260 firefighters are working on the fire that was reported at 9:01 a.m. Saturday near the Santa Ana River bottom at Highway 91 and Green River Road. The cause is under investigation. The fire authority has not posted an estimate of when it expects to have containment or control.
A red flag weather warning is in effect until 4 p.m. because the dry winds are gusty and erratic.
Evacuations are ordered in parts of Chino Hills, Yorba Linda, Anaheim and Brea.
The governor met with fire officials from Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties late this morning to get a briefing on the behavior of the flames and the tactical plan to battle the fire.
Schwarzenegger said the state has all the resources available and needed to attack the blaze.
"We know the winds will come every year and we've repositioned resources to Southern California that amounts to $1.9 million a day. We've prepared ourselves. We've assured ourselves of everything we need," Schwarzenegger said.
"I know cities are suffering right now, especially financially. I want to tell them not to worry about financial issues. You always have reserves, and generosity from the federal government to protect life and property."
Flanked by state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and a dozen fire chiefs, Schwarzenegger said that the state would be there for residents who lost their homes.
"We'll help them rebuild. The key thing to remember is they're not by themselves and we will help them quickly recover."
Poizner said that families who lost their homes should contact their insurance companies to begin the road to recovery.
He said even families who are being evacuated can be reimbursed while staying in hotel rooms.
Poizner warned fire victims to be aware of scam artists who might try to defraud homeowners out of their insurance money.
He said his agency would work undercover in the coming days to stop such fraudulent activity.
Poizner said should residents record their belongings with video or photos and keep that at a separate location to have it ready for their insurance companies. Anyone who encounters difficulty in resolving an insurance loss should call the state office at 1-800-927-HELP (4357), he said.
"Aside from losing a family member, nothing is worse than losing home and property," Poizner said.
Schwarzenegger thanked fire officials and praised firefighters as he addressed the media late this morning at Irvine Regional Park.
"The state has any resources it needs to fight any fire, any disaster," the governor said. "We have the most courageous, toughest and best-trained firefighters in the world. They're always jumping into action. They are the true actions heroes."
Xxx John Asbury
Published: Monday, November 17, 2008