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180-acre brush fire in Orange County 65% contained

Firefighters continued to gain control Tuesday over a brush fire that has scorched 180 acres in the Silverado Canyon area of unincorporated Orange County, authorities said.

The fire broke out just before 11 a.m. Monday near Santiago Canyon Road and the California 241 toll road, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

The fire was ignited when a worker handling a mower on an access road hit something that created a spark, which flew into light grass and launched flames that overtook the hillside, said Capt. Steve Concialdi.

Even though the crew had a water tender that sprays the area to avoid such incidents, the grass was so light and dry that the fire spread too fast, Concialdi said.

“It was just flashy fuel,” he said.

The flames then pushed into denser brush and trees that required a bigger force to handle. The fire tore through bone-dry brush and engulfed two abandoned homes.

Irvine Lake campground, a popular spot for fishing and boating, also was temporarily shut down, and 50 people had to evacuate, officials said.

About 180 firefighters were fighting the blaze Tuesday afternoon. Containment was increased to 65% from earlier in the day. No injuries have been reported.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


2:05 p.m.: This story has been updated to report that the fire is 65% contained and 180 firefighters are on scene.

This story was first published at 7:45 a.m.