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The Blue Ridge Fire behind cars on a highway overpass in Chino, California, on Tuesday, choking much of the region with smokey, unhealthy air. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Orange County, Southern California, battled into the night two growing wildfires that have burned across more than 27,000 acres and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate.

The state of play: The blazes have been driven by strong Santa Ana winds and forced the evacuation of some 92,000 people Monday, per Orange County Fire Authority officials. Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for some parts of the city of Irvine late Tuesday as the fires continued to grow.

  • Smoke from the uncontained Blue Ridge Fire that has razed 15,200 acres and damaged 10 homes caused authorities to issue an unhealthy air quality advisory for the southern region of Los Angeles County.
  • The Silverado Fire has burned across 12,600 acres and was 5% contained by late Tuesday.

Driving the news: The Silverado Fire began at 6:47am Monday as a vegetation fire around Santiago Canyon Road and Silverado Canyon Road in Irvine, the City of Irvine said.

  • "The fire started in Silverado Canyon, and helicopters and fixed wing aircraft are on the way," Irvine Mayor Christina Shea stated in a press release.
  • The Blue Ridge Fire broke out Monday afternoon in Chino Hills, above Yorba Linda neighborhoodsy, according to Chino Valley Fire.

The big picture: Dry conditions and powerful winds across the state have prompted power cutoffs to hundreds of thousands of California residents to prevent utility equipment from sparking new fires.

  • The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning until Tuesday, with LA and Ventura counties potentially seeing gusts of wind up to 80 mph.
  • Utility Southern California Edison implemented a Public Safety Power Shutoff on Monday that has left 19,614 customers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties without electricity until further notice.

Of note: Two firefighters battling the Silverado Fire were critically wounded and "covered in second and third degree burns" on Monday, the Orange County Fire Authority said in a statement.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the latest on the evacuation orders and the fires.

Go deeper

Dec 29, 2020 - Health

Stay-at-home order extended for Southern California, San Joaquin Valley

A nurse tightens her gown in the ICU at Providence St. Jude Medical Center Christmas Day in Fullerton, California. Photo: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California's regional stay-at-home order has been extended for Southern California and San Joaquin Valley, officials announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: The expected move came as the ICU capacity in both regions remained at 0%, the state health department said. Southern California and San Joaquin Valley have been under the order since Dec. 6.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.