The six-day-old Silverado Fire, which has burned close to 1,000 acres, was nearly surrounded Wednesday, and most firefighters were on “mop-up” duty.
The 968-acre blaze was 95 percent contained with 378 firefighters on the job, according to Jake Rodriguez, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
“We’re primarily on mop-up duty,” Rodriguez said.
Numerous firefighters became overheated while on the fire lines. Only two were so affected they took time off, Rodriguez said.
Although the blaze is nearly contained, plenty of work is left to do, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.
“It’s the sixth day of extremely high temperatures in some very steep, rugged terrain,” Concialdi said.
The blaze was started by the sun reflecting off metal sheeting put up by someone trying to keep rodents out of a vegetable garden.
The two-foot high metal sheeting was wrapped around a wood border, and the reflected rays ignited the wood and grass in a backyard in the 30500 block of Silverado Canyon Road about 10:30 a.m. Friday, according to Concialdi.
Residents should “use wire mesh to keep small rodents out” of gardens, he said.
“Do not ever use a material that reflects like metal sheeting — it becomes like a magnifying glass,” Concialdi said.
Neighbors said they smelled wood burning intermittently, but did not see any smoke and did not report anything to authorities, Concialdi said.
The homeowner who put up the rodent barrier called 911 and tried to douse the fire, with help from neighbors, but it spread too rapidly, Concialdi said.
— City News Service