Although they were prepared for the worst, firefighters participating in the first phase of a two-day planned brush fire in the Verdugo Canyon and Gambino Canyon areas of southern Orange County on Friday reported that the blaze came off without a hitch.
Orange County Fire Department spokesman Pat Antrim said "everything went like clockwork" with nearly half the 1,900 acres of dense chaparral slated for burning going up in flames Friday.
Smoke from the brush fire, designed to lessen the risk of an unplanned blaze, drifted as far as Trabuco Canyon, where it alarmed some residents there.
"We've had a couple of calls from people in the Trabuco Canyon area reporting they had smelled smoke and asking us if their canyon was burning," Antrim said.
In all, he said, Fire Department dispatchers Friday received four to five telephone inquiries an hour from local residents who were unaware that the fire was intentional.
On Sunday, fire crews will put the torch to the unburned balance of the brush areas.