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Cool Weather Helps Crews Make Progress On Anaheim Hills Wildfire

ANAHEIM HILLS (CBSLA) – Firefighters continue to make headway on the devastating 8,000-acre Canyon Fire 2 in Anaheim Hills, which forced thousands of people to flee their homes this week.

Cool Weather Helps In Anaheim Hills Firefight
A home destroyed in the Canyon Fire 2 which broke out Oct. 9, 2017, in Anaheim Hills, Calif. (CBS2)

Anaheim Fire & Rescue reported Wednesday morning that the blaze was 45 percent contained. The fire has destroyed 15 homes and damaged 12 other structures.

Officials were expecting cooler weather conditions Wednesday to cooperate with the firefight. Full containment of the blaze was slated for Saturday.

"Weather has turned favorable with a marine layer, winds from the ocean and high humidity overnight, boding well for progress on containment today," AF&R said in an update.

Evacuations remained in place along a stretch of Santa Ana Canyon Road from Woodcreek Road to Gypsum Canyon Road in Anaheim Hills. On Tuesday night, evacuations were lifted for Anaheim. At the height of the blaze Monday, 5,000 homes in Anaheim Hills, Orange and Tustin were under evacuation orders.

The 241 Toll Road remains closed from the 91 Freeway to the 261 Toll Road.

Chapman University in Orange was closed Monday and Tuesday due to smoky air from the blaze, but classes are scheduled to resume Wednesday. Santiago Canyon College will remain closed Wednesday.

Orange Unified School District officials said El Modena High School, Santiago Charter Middle School and El Rancho Charter Middle School will all reopen Wednesday, but six elementary schools -- Anaheim Hills, Canyon Rim, Chapman Hills, Linda Vista, Panorama and Running Springs -- will be closed. All other schools in the district will be open.

About 1,660 firefighters were battling the blaze with 13 choppers and five air tankers.

The Canyon Fire 2 erupted Monday, about a mile from the area scorched by the recent Canyon Fire, which broke out Sept. 25 and blackened more than 2,600 acres. Smoke from the new blaze could be seen for miles in all directions Monday, prompting warnings from health officials for people to remain indoors.

The fire initially broke out near the 91 Freeway east of Gypsum Canyon Road, near the Coal Canyon flashpoint of September's Canyon Fire, according to the Orange County Fire Authority. But while last month's Canyon Fire burned east, winds of about 25 miles per hour pushed its sequel to the west on Monday, prompting mandatory evacuation orders for residents south of the Riverside Freeway and west of the 241 toll road.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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