The Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda has destroyed a structure, damaged seven others, burned 14,334 acres and was 30% contained Thursday morning as evacuated residents were being allowed to return home.
All evacuation orders and warnings were lifted Thursday morning and several highways were reopened.
“A lot of great work has been done over the last two days,” said Operations Section Chief Tim Ernst of the California Department of Forest and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). “We don’t anticipate either of the two perimeters (of the Blue Ridge and Silverado fires) moving much.”
There were three helicopters making water drops on the blaze.
Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy praised firefighters in Los Angeles County for their help. He said “more than 52 agencies have come to our aid.”
The help from Los Angeles County and Los Angeles departments “absolutely saved us for the Blue Ridge Fire in Yorba Linda,” Fennessy said.
Crews will be monitoring the fire line throughout the morning, mopping up hot spots, according to Cal Fire.
High winds, which grounded firefighting aircraft on Monday, were much less of a factor on Wednesday and Thursday.
Full containment was expected on Nov. 10, according to Cal Fire.
Some roads in the area have started to reopen — one of two lanes will be open on southbound Corona (71) Freeway while crews fix a fire-damaged guardrail. Repairs are expected to be completed by 4 p.m. Thursday.
Traffic was also being allowed on the Riverside (91) Freeway connectors to the Corona Freeway, a Caltrans spokesperson said.
State Route 142 from Chino Hills Parkway to Portola Parkway reopened at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Caltrans said.
The estimation of burned acreage was lowered Tuesday night from about 15,200, according to Orange County Fire Authority spokesman Steve Concialdi. As of Wednesday morning, there was still no word on the cause of the fire.
Travis Wylie, a 36-year-old captain with Cal Fire out of San Bernardino, told City News Service the fire was “very active,” saying crews started to get a handle on flames around 3 a.m. Wednesday, when the Santa Ana winds started to die down. “With the fuel moistures and everything, it’s kind of burning erratic. The fuel moistures are really low.”
The brush fire, initially called the Green Fire, was reported at 12:55 p.m. Monday next to the Green River Golf Club, off of Green River Road and the Riverside Freeway in Corona, according to the Corona Fire Department.
Evacuations were ordered for 5,958 homes in Chino Hills and 2,500 in Yorba Linda. In Brea, 276 homes were ordered evacuated, 680 homes voluntarily evacuated and no homes were damaged, officials said.
With evacuation orders lifted, the Red Cross has closed its Temporary Evacuation Point at Chino Hills Community Center, spokeswoman Christine Welch said.
Flames from two small spot fires jumped the Corona Freeway Tuesday, but were quickly extinguished, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Jason Fairchild.
The head of the fire entered Orange County about 1:20 p.m. Monday, and the flames raced toward Yorba Linda, posing a threat to scores of residences
A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was secured Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, which will assist local and state agencies responding to the fire to apply for 75% reimbursement of their eligible firefighting costs.
Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel signed an emergency declaration Tuesday and asked Newsom to sign one as well for the county to free up more funding.
Because of the wildfires, the Santa Ana Zoo was sheltering about 150 animals from the Orange County Zoo, located in Irvine Regional Park.
Animals were also being sheltered at the OC Fair and Events Center in Costa Mesa and at the Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress.
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