Many neighborhoods remained under a mandatory evacuation order as firefighters continued to battle the so-called Canyon Fire 2 in Anaheim Hills Monday night.
Residents west of Freeway 241 and south of Freeway 91 were evacuated as the fire burned several homes.
Bill Sun said he and his family grabbed everything they could.
"It came so fast when it came and I saw the fire truck pull up. I just picked up and left," Sun said.
Sun said firefighters gave them plenty of time to get what they needed.
Cal Fire said 500 firefighters from across Southern California responded.
NBC 7 caught up with a Cal Fire San Diego Battalion Chief, John Kremensky who described the challenges in the gusting winds.
"It is very difficult for us to get out in front of the fire because so many embers just blow right over the top of us and it perpetuates and keeps going," Kremensky said.
His strike team worked to lay hoses to keep the Canyon Fire 2 from jumping roads.
As the fire roared south into Tustin, consuming miles of brush and trees in its path in open spaces -- including Peters Canyon Regional Park--some people stood by watching despite the evacuation order.
James Savelsberg said he could not believe what he was watching.
"Me and my wife hike around here all the time," Savelsberg said. "It's terrible to see people losing their homes."
The most effective tool to douse huge flames appeared to be the air attack. At an evening press conference, Cal Fire said they had fixed-winging aircrafts and 10 helicopters dropping retardant and making targeted water drops.
Those drops of retardant and water coupled with back fires helped save Sun’s Tustin neighborhood off of Jamboree Road.
"It was an awesome job. They put it out really quick it was very close," Sun said.
The Ngo family told NBC 7, they too are grateful for the effort by fire crews from the ground and the air.
"They did a really good job by stopping the spreading--coming towards our house," said Tia Ngo.