Remaining Evacuees from Fire Return Home in Orange County

November 5, 2007

The last group of residents evacuated because of a fire that destroyed 16 houses in Orange County, Calif., were allowed to return home on Saturday, authorities said.

The Fire, east of Irvine, has burned 44 square miles, or 28,400 acres, and also damaged eight structures. So far, the fire, which was suspected to be caused by arson, has cost $14.3 million to fight and was 90 percent contained. Firefighters expected to have it fully contained by Sunday.

The main road into the Silverado Canyon area, which also includes Black Star and Baker Canyons, was reopened to a few hundred remaining residents at 4 p.m., said Battalion Chief Chris Concepcion of the Orange County Fire Authority.

“All residents are allowed back into all the canyons, but only residents,” Concepcion said. “If you don’t have business in the canyons, they won’t let you back in.”

Residents were also given an informational brochure on living in a burned area and how to help prevent future fires, Concepcion said.

Two weeks of wildfires destroyed more than 2,000 homes across a swath of Southern California stretching from north of Los Angeles to south of San Diego.

Many crews who fought the fires were prepared to jump back into action this weekend as the Santa Ana winds were forecast to make a return to the area.

As of Saturday night the winds were not as strong as the earlier Santa Ana event, spurring no new major wildfires in the region, and a red flag warning of extreme fire conditions was canceled for Orange County.

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