Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Earthquakes and Fires - Welcome to California...

Helicopters dip into Dove Canyon Lake to squelch remote fire
Blaze south of Santiago Peak.

One day after a 4.7 earthquake shakes Southern California, a fire breaks out about 3 miles from Serfas' headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca.
The Orange County Register reports: Fire crews planned to stay the night Monday to battle flames burning 1.5 miles from the northern edge of the city, said a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority.
Eleven U.S. Forest Service firefighters worked for hours Monday afternoon to cut through densely wooded land and reach the one-fourth-acre fire in the Cleveland National Forest, Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown said.
"They're going to go ahead and work the area and try to extinguish the hot spots," McKeown said.
Throughout the day, county fire helicopters fought the fire from above, dipping into Dove Canyon Lake for water to drop on the blaze. Meanwhile, the Forest Service firefighters used chain saws and hand tools to hack a path to the fire.
McKeown said the fire's remote location limited the ground crew's access to water. They hauled in a small amount of water, but were focusing on cutting a line around the fire and smothering it with dirt.
The fire was reported at 11:41 a.m. to the Fire Authority. At about 4 p.m., the fire – then 20 feet by 60 feet – was still burning with no structures in danger, said Cleveland National Forest spokesman Brian Harris. At about 6 p.m., the fire had doubled in size to one-fourth acre.
"Anytime there are fires on a hillside we worry about it spreading," McKeown said.
As of 6 p.m., the fire was not contained. McKeown expected the fire to be out by Tuesday morning.
Smoke could be seen from the canyons, Rancho Santa Margarita and Foothill Ranch, according to residents.
"It's way up on the ridge," said Bob Reynolds, a long-time Silverado Canyon resident and part of Canyon Watch, a group of Canyon residents who keep each other informed about fire danger in the canyons.
Dove Canyon resident Suzanne Haggerty watched helicopters suck water out of Dove Canyon Lake.
"It had to be close, so I was concerned," said Haggerty. "It's so dry in our canyon. It's always a concern out here."
The fire is burning just east of the site of the 2007 Santiago Fire, which scorched more than 28,000 acres.

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