Header image with Photo of Supervisor Pat Bates. Followed by office information
October 26, 2007

Pat Bates's Picture

Welcome to this edition of the Fifth District Report, an electronic newsletter keeping you updated about the events taking place in Orange County and in the Fifth District. It is my hope that you find this distribution informative and I would encourage you to contact me regarding any thoughts, comments, or concerns you may have.



1. Santiago Fire Update

2. Important Fire Information

3. Santiago Fire Statistics

4. Evacuations

5. Information for Evacuees

6. Donation/Volunteer Opportunities

7. Disaster Assistance and Relief

8. Additional Fire Information

9. Health Care Agency

10. $250,000 Reward Offered

11) Fifth District Wrap-Up


Justin McCusker:
Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince:
Executive Director of Public Affairs

Eileen Takata:
Executive Policy Advisor

Jeff Corless:
Executive Policy Advisor

Elise Lampe:
Executive Policy Advisor

Ruth Strachan:
Executive Secretary II

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Volume 1 Issue 20
Santiago Fire Update

Fifth District Report

The massive wildfire that began last Sunday in the area of Santiago Canyon and Silverado Canyon has now consumed nearly 28,000 acres in Orange County. Flames that seriously threatened communities in north Irvine on Sunday night were successfully fought-off but quickly moved in the direction of Lake Forest.

On Monday, Lake Forest officials announced mandatory evacuations in Foothill Ranch as well as voluntary evacuations in Portola Hills as the blaze advanced on these communities. To view photos of the fire as seen from Lake Mission Viejo and Dana Point Harbor, please click here and here.

Drought conditions, high temperatures, rough terrain, and hurricane-force Santa Ana winds created the worst possible circumstances for firefighters. Touring our South County communities under siege and seeing firefighters battle the flames first-hand, I can tell you our resources were stretched to the absolute limit. To see a press release issued on Monday, please click here.

Firefighters put in up to 24-hour shifts battling the furious flames, at times with their backs against the very houses they had risked their lives to save. Fire officials managed to stave off the firestorm in Foothill Ranch, but the blaze swiftly raced into Modjeska Canyon, causing wide-spread mandatory evacuations in the area on Tuesday and destroying a number of homes in its path. To see a slide show of the Santiago Fire, please click here.

On Wednesday I joined Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with local legislators, mayors and city council members to coordinate with state and federal agencies in deploying additional resources to extinguish the defiant wildfire plaguing our county.

We convened at the Red Cross’ evacuation shelter at El Toro High School in Lake Forest. Visiting with residents forced to evacuate their homes to escape the flames, my heart went out to these people who had endured the unimaginable.  The Red Cross combined with City of Lake Forest staff and elected officials, the County‘s Health Care Agency and scores of volunteers are to be commended on the manner in which they provided  sorely needed  aid and comfort to the evacuees at this shelter.  We all deeply appreciated the Governor traveling to South County to observe the affects of the fire’s devastation and provide comforting words to the evacuees.

Later in the day we assembled at the Orange County Fire Authority command post in Irvine Regional Park where we were briefed on the increase in firefighting aircraft and resources to extinguish the wildfire still raging out of control in our canyon communities. I was also in contact with the office of Congressman Ken Calvert while my staff was in communication with Senator Feinstein’s office to emphasize the need for deployment of additional resources.  Both have pledged their support to ensure we receive the federal assistance authorized through President Bush’s declaration of Southern California’s wildfires as a “Disaster”. To see photos of Wednesday’s activities, please click here.

Having personally witnessed the incredible courage and dedication of our firefighters along with government workers and hundreds of volunteers working around the clock to save lives and protect communities, we can all be assured we live in a county where residents truly care about one another. I’m sure we all share in our admiration and gratitude for the brave men and women who have been on the frontlines battling this terrible inferno and those behind the lines giving ‘service above self’ to ensure victims, both human and animal, were being cared for.

As we go forward, it is now extremely important for all of us – residents and the affected communities – to stand with the Governor in calling on the federal government to deliver resources in a timely and effective manner, so their promises made are promises kept!

Important Fire Information

The impacts of the devastating Santiago Fire have stretched County resources to the limit and left residents with many questions regarding a wide spectrum of fire-related issues. My office has compiled pertinent information addressing many of the questions and concerns that have surfaced as a result the current fire situation. Please see below.

Santiago Fire Statistics

The following are statistics on the Santiago Fire as of the release of this newsletter:

Acreage Burned

  • Approaching 28,000 acres


  • 30% at this time

Structures Burned

  • 8 residential structures damaged;14 destroyed
  • 12 outbuildings damaged; 8 destroyed

Firefighting & Law Enforcement Assets


OC Sheriff


  • 1,614 Firefighters
  • 216 Engines/Trucks
  • 13 Helicopters
  • 4 Air Tankers
  • 21 Handcrews
  • 11 Dozers
  • 12 Water Tenders
  • Air support
  • 634 personnel
  • 1 Command Post
  • 1 Staging Area
  • 1 Incident Command Center
  • 1 ICP Liaison
  • 100s of personnel on standby
  • 100+ Officers
  • 100’s of personnel on standby


Firefighting Costs

  • Estimated at nearly $5 million not including cost of homes and property damaged, expected to add many more millions of dollars

  • Mandatory evacuations are in place for the canyon areas of Santiago Canyon Road between Silverado Canyon Road and Live Oak Canyon Road, including the Santiago Estates area and Jackson Ranch Road. Areas along Live Oak Canyon Road through the Trabuco Canyon area, including O'Neill Regional Park, to Trabuco Creek Road are also included in this mandatory evacuation.
  • Approximately 3,000 homes have been threatened. 

Mandatory Evacuations for the canyon areas include:

  • Harris Grade
  • Live Oak Canyon
  • Hamilton Truck Trail
  • Trabuco Canyon
  • Holy Jim Canyon
  • Silverado Canyon
  • Modjeska Canyon
  • Ladd Canyon
  • Baker Canyon
  • Blackstar Canyon
  • Williams Canyon

Silverado, Modjeska and Williams Canyon will evacuate northbound on Santiago Canyon Road. Trabuco Canyon area will evacuate toward the City of Rancho Santa Margarita. Evacuees can go to El Toro High School located at 25255 Toledo Way in the City of Lake Forest; or El Modena High School located at 3920 Spring St. in the City of Orange.

  • The Orange County Sheriff's Department has ordered a mandatory precautionary evacuation of the Joplin Boys Ranch. Call (714) 935-6660 for information. 
  • Mandatory evacuation for Santiago Canyon Road and Hangman Tree Road (Thomas Brothers page 832 D6). 
  • Voluntary evacuations in the foothill areas of Lake Forest including Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills. Evacuees can go to El Toro High School at 25255 Toledo Way in Lake Forest. Immediate threat to 2,000 structures. 
  • San Clemente High School and the California State Park at San Onofre are NOT evacuation shelters.
Information for Evacuees

For important tips on how to prepare for an evacuation, please click here.

For animal evacuation information, please click here.

Evacuees needing prescription medications and who are unable to fill them via their physician or pharmacy should call OC Public Information Hotline at 714-628-7085.

For information about shelter locations, evacuation requirements, how to donate or provide assistance, or other fire updates, please call “2-1-1” or 1-888-600-4357. For more information, please click here.

Donation/Volunteer Opportunities

To learn about ways you can volunteer to support local disaster response efforts, please click here.

To learn about donation opportunities to support fire relief efforts, please click here.

Disaster Assistance and Relief

To help affected residents recover from the wildfires, the County has opened a Local Assistance Center.  Representatives from multiple agencies will be available to offer assistance. For more information, please click here

Fire victims who have suffered over $10,000 in property damage may qualify for temporary property tax relief – a reduction in their current property taxes. For more information, please click here.

Southern California Edison (SCE) has announced a special relief program to cover unbilled electricity usage for residential customers whose homes were destroyed or are uninhabitable due to this week’s devastating wildfires. For more information, please click here.

What can homeowners, tenants, business owners, and local officials expect after disasters?  State law offers several exceptions from the standard requirements for land use and taxation decisions. For more information, please click here.

Additional Fire Information

The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) is providing up-to-date information about the Santiago Canyon Fire. For the latest fire data including animal evacuation information, road closures and school closures due to current fire conditions, please click here.

To view a map of the approximate fire area, evacuation areas and evacuation centers, please click here.

Smoke from the Santiago Fire may pose a health danger to residents. For more information, please click here.

Several County parks are closed due to the extreme fire danger and the severe Santa Ana Winds earlier this week that caused damage to mature trees and made conditions within the parks hazardous. For more information, please click here.

Orange County Animal Care Services is receiving reports from the public about wildlife fleeing from the Santiago Fire in Orange County. Please keep your distance from wildlife and report any sick or injured animals to Orange County Animal Care Services at (714) 935-6848.

In addition to serving as Supervisor for Orange County’s Fifth District, I also serve on the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Board of Directors. The OCFA Board holds bimonthly meetings which are open to the public. The next public meeting will be on November 15 at 6 PM. Meetings are held at the Regional Fire and Operations Training Center, One Fire Authority Way, Irvine (at the intersection of Jamboree and Tustin Ranch Road).  For more information, please click here.

For additional important fire information, please click here.

Health Care Agency

The County’s Health Care Agency has been working with the Emergency Operations Center since Sunday to provide services to Orange County residents and mutual aid assistance to San Diego.

Emergency Medical Services has been coordinating with hospitals to monitor burn center capacity, emergency department bed capacity, and services related to smoke inhalation. In addition, eight ambulance strike teams – each team consisting of 5 staffed ambulances and 1 strike team leader – were dispatched to San Diego. Orange County retains over 275 ambulances in the area.

Public Health Services has monitored evacuees’ medical needs at the Lake Forest and El Modena shelters. Individuals with health needs beyond the capacity of shelter sites were transported to community clinics or hospitals. Behavioral Health Services staff also monitors evacuees, ready to provide counseling.

During this crisis, the Health Care Agency also assisted four-legged, furry evacuees. To see photos of rescued animals, please click here. At the evacuation shelter sites, Animal Care Services provided crates and water dishes, and ACS Animal Control Officers were continually in the field collecting loose pets. The Animal Care Shelter also expanded its hours to assist owners whose pets may have been lost during evacuation. Hours will be from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM. To search for a lost pet, please click here.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by the Santiago Fire and require medical, behavioral, or animal care services, please contact the Health Care Agency at (714) 834-4722 for additional assistance.

$250,000 Reward Offered

The preliminary cause of the devastating Santiago Fire has been confirmed as arson.  A reward of $250,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this heinous crime. If you have any information relating to this fire, you are encouraged to call the OCFA Arson Tip Line at (800) 540-8282.

Fifth District Wrap-Up

Having personally witnessed the incredible courage and dedication of our firefighters along with government workers and hundreds of volunteers working around the clock to save lives and protect communities, we can all be assured we live in a county where residents truly care about one another. I’m sure we all share in our admiration and gratitude for the brave men and women who have been on the frontlines battling this terrible inferno and those behind the lines giving ‘service above self’ to ensure victims, both human and animal, were being cared for. Please pray for their safety and that of residents harmed by the Santiago Fire.

My staff and I look forward to continually providing you updated information in our Fifth District Newsletter and website.

Please feel free to contact my office with your concerns, comments or questions at (714) 834-3550.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your Supervisor for Orange County's Fabulous Fifth District.

Thank you so much for your support!