An air crane helicopter sucks water out of Irvine Lake to help battle the Silverado Canyon Fire. Photo by John Schreiber.
An air crane helicopter sucks water out of Irvine Lake to help battle the Silverado Canyon Fire. Photo by John Schreiber.

The four-day-old Silverado Fire in the Cleveland National forest in eastern Orange County was 80 percent contained Monday, and fire crews continued to battle the heat as they worked to completely surround the 968-acre blaze.

Fire crews made significant progress overnight extending the containment line, according to the latest update on the U.S. Forest Service Inciweb site. But near-record high temperatures in excess of 100 degrees and still anticipated in the area, along with the possibility of increasing winds, with gusts of 18 miles per hour, fire officials said.

With the fire 80 percent contained, the plan for Monday is continued structure protection and hold and improve existing containment lines. Fire officials said they would also release firefighters and equipment deemed unnecessary.

Firefighting efforts have been assisted by helicopters making nighttime drops, which is new for the National Forest Service. The agency came under heavy fire for refusing to use new infrared vision equipment in aircraft in the early hours of the disastrous Station Fire near Mount Wilson in 2009.

A total of 1,428 men and women were working on the fire temperatures around 100 degrees and very dry air, Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Bob Poole said.

Three firefighters had minor heat-related injuries on Friday, but none were reported Saturday or Sunday, Poole said.

No cause has been listed for the fire, which broke out at about 10:30 a.m. Friday in the 30500 block of Silverado Canyon Road, east of Irvine and west of the Orange-Riverside county line.

The fire is blackening a largely remote area on the western flanks of Santiago Peak, south of Corona. The fire was still no threat to any cross- mountain routes, firefighters said.

Mandatory evacuation orders for residents living east of 30311 Silverado Canyon Road were lifted as of Sunday evening, Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said. The road remains closed to non-residents, he said.

Residents should be prepared to present law enforcement with identification and proof of residence when accessing affected areas, Hallock said.

—City News Service

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