Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A brush fire near Irvine Lake accidentally sparked by a Caltrans crew working near Irvine Lake was 90 percent contained, authorities said Wednesday.

The evacuation orders for the lake’s campground and 15 other structures in an unincorporated area near Orange were lifted Tuesday evening, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

Santiago Canyon Road was reopened at the same time, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

About 60 firefighters will be deployed today, mostly for “mop-up” duty, Concialdi said. At its height, there were about 350 firefighters battling the blaze, which consumed about 215 acres, authorities said.

A Caltrans crew mowing brush in the area of the 241 Eastern Transportation Corridor and Santiago Canyon Road Monday apparently struck an object that caused sparks to ignite vegetation, according to Concialdi.

The crew had a water truck following the mower, but its efforts to douse the flames failed, he said.

“They were doing everything right, but it goes to show you how dry the vegetation was …” Concialdi said. “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.

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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