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Weather Helps Firefighters Extinguish 115-Acre Blaze

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A fast-moving wildfire scorched 115 acres of remote, rough terrain Sunday before more than 200 firefighters and a marine layer blowing in from the southwest stopped it from spreading.

“It’s not going to get any bigger,” said Capt. Dan Young of the Orange County Fire Department. He estimated that the blaze would be contained by 8 a.m. today.

No injuries were reported to residents or firefighters and no homes were destroyed as of late Sunday.

Arson investigators were on the scene but no cause had been determined for the fire, which broke about 3:25 p.m. near Cook’s Corner, at the intersection of Live Oak Canyon and Santiago Canyon roads.

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The fire then spread northeast into the Cleveland National Forest, fanned by winds off the ocean.

The blaze came to within one-eighth of a mile of a handful of homes in the area, but no one was evacuated, Young said. He said engine strike teams were on hand Sunday night to protect the neighborhoods, but they were expected to be called off soon. Fire crews were going to battle the blaze through the night.

The fire was kept at least a mile from the national forest’s Modjeska Canyon Nature Preserve, a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife.

Access was temporarily restricted on roads in the area, including Santiago Canyon and Live Oak Canyon, Young said.

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The fire drew 210 firefighters, 40 engines, three hand crews, water tenders, bulldozers and water-carrying helicopters. At its peak, the blaze was visible for more than 15 miles, according to Young.

Firefighters’ efforts initially were hampered by rough terrain and a lack of fixed-wing aircraft to battle the fire because they were being used against other blazes in Southern California or were still in Northern California, where they have been needed during the last three weeks.

But helicopters helped to douse the blaze and a cool fog layer was expected to blow up from the ocean, Young said.


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