The Silverado Canyon fire sends thick smoke into the air Friday as fire crews work to contain the blaze. Photo by John Schreiber.
The Silverado Canyon fire sends thick smoke into the air Friday as fire crews work to contain the blaze. Photo by John Schreiber.

More than 800 firefighters are assigned to dig fire lines around a brush fire that has blackened about 1,220 acres in Silverado Canyon since Friday, and is now about 20 percent contained, an Orange County battalion chief said Sunday.

On the second night of firefighting, a helicopter was assigned to observe ground operations but not make water drops, said OCFA Battalion Chef Mike Petro.

Less smoke improved mapping Saturday which enabled officials to downsize the fire from 1,300 to 1,220 acres, Petro said.

The use of ten helicopters and five fixed-wing aircraft to make water or retardant drops helped 826 firefighters extend containment lines to 20 percent of the blaze, he said. A containment time could be estimated if progress is made in the next 24 to 48 hours.

While the blistering heat caused three firefighters to require temporary hospitalization Friday there were no injuries Saturday, Petro said.

Onshore winds were a mild 5 to 10 mph, he said. No structures have been lost and the cause of the fire remained under investigation.

The fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. Friday in the 30500 block of Silverado Canyon Road, fire officials said. The blaze was initially reported at about 15 acres, burning in Silverado Canyon near the Orange-Riverside county line.

The fire is blackening a largely remote area on the western flanks of Santiago Peak, east of Anaheim and south of Corona. The fire was not a threat to the Ortega Highway or other major roads, and no thoroughfares were closed.

Although some homes dot Silverado Canyon, fire officials said no structures were immediately threatened. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued at 6 p.m. for residents living from 30500 Silverado Canyon Road east to the end of the canyon, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Residents remained out of their homes Saturday night, Petro said. Some still did not have power and fire equipment and fire debris made some roads impassable for others. A decision on whether to allow them to return could be made Sunday, he said.

Although about 436 customers lost power Friday, Southern California Edison workers were able to isolate affected circuits and restore power to all but 107 accounts near the fire.

The American Red Cross set up an evacuation center at El Modena High School, 3920 E. Spring St., in Orange.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for portions of Orange and Riverside counties due to the blaze. The areas “directly” affected by the smoke, according to the agency, include Saddleback and Capistrano valleys of Orange County and the Corona, Norco and Lake Elsinore areas of Riverside County.

Tauhir Jones, U.S. Forest Service spokesman for the Cleveland National Forest, said the USFS had sent 10 engines, two water-dropping helicopters, one helitanker, one hand crew and two water tenders to the scene.

Two DC-10 retardant-dropping planes were also aiding in the firefighting effort.

— City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.