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'Abandoned' Homes Destroyed In Irvine Lake Brush Fire

IRVINE LAKE ( — Three vacant homes were destroyed Monday in a 250-acre brush fire in unincorporated Orange, authorities said.

According to the Orange County Fire Authority, the fire erupted shortly after 11 a.m. at northbound 241 Highway and forced the shutdown of Santiago Canyon Road and the evacuation of the Irvine Lake campground and 15 other structures, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.

The evacuation went into effect just before noon and affected about 10 to 15 people at the campground. Fifteen structures -- including cabins -- were also evacuated, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.

The three structures that were destroyed were "abandoned" homes, Concialdi said.

More than 200 firefighters battled the blaze this afternoon with three air tankers dropping retardant and another five helicopters making water drops, Concialdi said.

Santiago Canyon Road has been closed between the 241 and Modjeska Canyon Road, according to officials.

The blaze was 25 percent contained as of 4:45 p.m. with no injuries reported, according to Concialdi.

"The prevailing wind was blowing toward the Irvine Lake area, and it quickly jumped Santiago Canyon, and then made a run at Irvine Lake," Concialdi said. "So our priority was to get in front of the fire and get the helicopters and air tankers that were coming in to keep it away from Irvine Lake."

Officials say that, due to the drought, the fire could be a bad sign of things to come.

"In this case, this fire took off quickly, even though we did not have strong wind behind it, and there were three abandoned homes that were lost today," Concialdi said. "If this was a populated area, yes, we could have lost homes."

(©2015 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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