The fire also cast an apocalyptic light over Disneyland, with darkened, orange skies above the park.
Officials have not confirmed the number of homes lost, however, Los Angeles media flying over the scene have broadcasted several homes on fire.
An hour later, the Orange County Fire Authority estimated the fire had burned 2,000 acres and was 0 percent contained. Santos told KPCC she lives across from Irvine Regional Park near Santiago Canyon College, an area with quite a few homes abutting wildlands.
The city of Santa Rosa and its 175,000 residents felt much of the damage, with strip malls, business parks, hotels and subdivisions swallowed up by the fire. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange County, as well as four counties in Northern California, where dozens of brush fires have killed 15 people, injured at least 100 and destroyed about 1,500 structures. Authorities also are setting up a place for residents to evacuate their horses.
The Orange Unified School District was evacuating Running Springs Elementary School and Anaheim Hills Elementary School, with students being taken by buses to Canyon High's gymnasium.
About 20 people spent the night at El Modena High, where they were served a breakfast of coffee, donuts and fruit.
"We want you back in your homes as soon as possible", Wyatt said. The westbound lanes were closed at the 241 connector, but later reopened.
Airborne ash and smoky conditions forced the closure of at least two major freeways in the vicinity of Anaheim: the State Route 241 and the eastbound side of the State Route 91.