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Santiago Fire UPDATE: Homes Destroyed in Modjeska Canyon, Evacuations Ordered for Trabuco Canyon

Here’s the latest on the Santiago Fire, courtesy of The Register. Mandatory evacuations are now underway for for the canyon areas northeast of Santiago Canyon Road, between Modjeska Canyon Road and Live Oak Canyon Road, including the Santiago Estates neighborhood. 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. At least eight Modjeska Canyon houses burned to the ground today as strong winds brought huge flames through the narrow canyon area into residential neighborhoods. However, it looks like the threat to South County has resurfaced, as the fire is now approaching Trabuco Canyon. Orange County Sheriff’s deputies blocked access to Trabuco Canyon from the north at the intersection of Plano Trabuco and Robinson Ranch Road. From the south, Trabuco Canyon was also blocked from Marguerite Parkway and El Toro Road.

For everyone evacuating from at-risk neighborhoods, El Toro High School (Lake Forest) and El Modena High School (Orange) are still open for shelter. The Orange County Sheriff’s Blog has regular updates as well.

As always, stay tuned here at The Liberal OC for updates on the Santiago Fire. Also, if you live in any of the areas hit, please call the information hotline at (714) 628-7085. And again, our hopes and prayers go to everyone affected by this terrible fire, as well as all the brave law enforcement officers and firefighters who are doing their best to keep us safe.


  1. Pam Cook Pam Cook October 23, 2007

    No one has mentioned anything about Madame Modjeska’s residence throughout the news of the Modjeska Canyon fire? Does anyone know if it withstood the fire?

  2. Andrea M Andrea M October 23, 2007

    I also am wondering the same thing. Madame Modjeska’s estate is a historic landmark, yet no one on the news has mentioned it.

  3. Diane Lewis Diane Lewis October 24, 2007

    I was just at Madame Modjeska’s house last Sunday afternoon before the fire started. Helena Modjeska’s Great-Great grandaughter had carved a magnificent replica of a lion table that had been owned by Modjeska. It was a lovely event! We had luncheon in the fire station and the brave volunteer firefighters stood warily around knowing about the fire danger in that area. I hope and pray that her splendid house somehow survived the flames!!!! It will be a tremendous loss to Orange County if it burned.

  4. Amber Amber October 24, 2007

    Does anyone know if the Tucker Wildlife Santuary nature center is ok? It is in Modjeska Canyon.

  5. C Wright C Wright October 24, 2007

    My family lived in Madame Modjeska’s concert master’s home in 1970-71 – we’re all praying the house survives. It’s such a beautiful place. When we lived there, though, the Cleveland National Forest came right up to the back of the house, and although the house is stone, there is a lot of wood in the house. It had a tunnel dug through hillside on the bottom floor – from the closet in the bedroom on the bottom floor, around the back of the kitchen, which came out into the kitchen cupboard. All of us believe it is also haunted.

  6. China Girl China Girl October 24, 2007

    Phone lines are down. I”m tyring to check on Friends.
    Looking for the Families of:
    The Owens of Modjeska
    The Fredettes of Modjeska
    The Gillespies of Trabuco
    The Espositos of Trabuco
    Any word would be great…
    God Bles and Watch over all the Families of California

  7. david david October 25, 2007

    I am also wondering about Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary. If anyone has definitive information about whether or not it was destroyed, I would be gratefull to hear from you. My email is dmelliott
    Thank you

  8. Jeane Jeane October 25, 2007

    Only single family homes – as far as I can find out – see and recognize on local coverage — have been damaged or burned in the canyons. I live near enough to have been watching the flames advance for the last 3 nights. China Girl: if you have names and phone #’s or complete street address with zip codes — you can check out the Red Cross’ site and see if they have registered as safe — I mean to say they are safe, we just don’t know about their homes. Or you can look on the OCFA’s site (?) or is it the OC Sheriff’s Dept’s site which has a list of the addresses that have been lost. I can send you the links if you wish to contact me at my work mail address joconnor at c21superstars dot com.
    Hope this helps someone.

  9. david david October 26, 2007

    I have heard from Cal State Fullerton this morning that Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary did not burn. Also for a short time last night the OCFA website had a link to a list of the addresses of the houses that were destroyed. It was only there for about about an hour or two, and it wasn’t there this morning either.

  10. Angie Angie October 27, 2007

    David – Thanks so much for the info about Tucker. My husband and I were married there on Oct. 30th ….. 31 years ago. Naturally we’re very happy to hear it is safe.

  11. Sergio Sergio October 28, 2007

    I am so glad I found these web site. I am the contractor that just finished remodeling the cabin for the care taker of Tucker wild life sanctuary last year. I am happy for them and I pray for the ones got hit by the fires. God bless them all.

  12. david david October 29, 2007

    I also heard from a reporter that live in Modjeska Canyon that the Helena Modjeska house was also still standing.


  13. Diane Lewis Diane Lewis October 29, 2007

    Thank You SO much for the good news on the Modjeska historical monument, David. THANK GOODNESS!~!!!

  14. Russ L. Hudson Russ L. Hudson December 4, 2007

    I’m the science writer for Cal State Fullerton and have been keeping tabs on our research/educational facilities. First the winds and then the fire in October, then last weekend’s rain and flooding all barely spared Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon. The drought left the hillsides and the native vegetation at and around Tucker dry and much of it dying, then the winds turned a lot of the dry vegetation into debris. The the fires came, but were halted just feet from the structures, although some of the nature trails were burned. All of the animals were saved. The rains of Nov. 30/Dec. 1 ran a lot of water by and through the sanctuary, but the burned slopes held. As of today, Tucker is looking for help in placing the sand bags and hay bales that were delivered just before the mandatory evacuation. They’re trying to get them in place before the next storm. In coming months they need to replant native vegetation and do some repairs. Contact the Tucker director, Karon Cornell, at

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