Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A Caltrans crew working near Irvine Lake on Monday accidentally sparked a 214-acre brush fire that was 65 percent contained Tuesday afternoon, a fire captain said.

Evacuation orders remained in effect for the lake’s campground and 15 other structures in an unincorporated area near Orange, according to the Orange County Fire Authority, which had about 180 firefighters on the fire lines today.

Tomorrow, about 60 firefighters will be deployed, mostly for “mop-up” duty, according to OCFA Capt. Steve Concialdi.

A Caltrans crew mowing brush in the area of the 241 Eastern Transportation Corridor and Santiago Canyon Road apparently struck some sort of object that caused sparks to ignite vegetation, according to Concialdi. The crew had a water truck following the mower, but their efforts to douse the flames failed, the captain said.

“They were doing everything right, but it goes to show you how dry the vegetation was …” Concialdi said, adding “we’re in for a long, hard-fought summer and fall.”

The evacuation went into effect just before noon Monday and affected about 10 to 15 people at the campground. Fifteen structures — including cabins — were also evacuated, according to the OCFA, which reported the loss of the two former Irvine Ranch residences that had been scheduled to be demolished.

Santiago Canyon Road remained closed between the tollway and Silverado Canyon Road this afternoon, but was expected to reopen at 8 tonight, Concialdi said.

The Orange County Emergency Operations Center activated a public information hotline — (714) 628-7085 — for people to call for updates on the blaze.

—City News Service

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