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Wildfire warnings issued for Southern California through Saturday amid hot, windy conditions

As firefighters continue to work toward containment of a fire in Orange County, Southern California is bracing for more dangerous weather in the coming days.

Red-flag wildfire warnings will be in effect from Thursday evening through Saturday morning in the mountains and valleys of Los Angeles County because of strong, gusty winds, low humidity and dry vegetation.

Humidity levels in the threatened areas will dip to the low teens and single digits in some areas.

Meanwhile, firefighters will work Thursday to expand containment of the 4-day-old, 9,217-acre Canyon 2 fire in the Anaheim Hills and expect to complete the encirclement of the blaze Saturday.

Thousands of people evacuated after the fire broke out Monday have returned home, and schools that had not reopened as of Wednesday were scheduled to do so Thursday. Fire crews increased the containment figure to 60% Wednesday.

Most evacuation orders prompted by the fast-moving blaze, which destroyed 23 structures and damaged 36, were lifted around 5 p.m. Tuesday, with much of the blaze doused on the west side of the Highway 241 toll road, allowing crews to focus their efforts on the eastern flank. The rest were lifted Wednesday.

A portion of the toll road damaged by the blaze will remain closed indefinitely, according to Lisa Telles of the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which manages toll roads in Orange County.

The flames damaged electrical cables, signs, guardrails, fences and traffic control devices, Telles said. There is no estimate when work will be done on repairing the damage and clearing the road of fire retardant, she said.

In Anaheim, Santa Ana Canyon Road between Woodcrest and Gypsum Canyon roads remains closed, fire authorities said.

Two firefighters suffered minor smoke inhalation battling the blaze. Residents returning to their homes were being advised to check their property for fire and water damage to ensure structures are safe.

Times staff writers contributed tothis report.

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