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Update: Fire off Ortega Highway Print E-mail
Written by LaderaPortal NEWS   
Friday, 27 October 2006

Update: Fire off Ortega Highway
US Forestry Firefighters examine the fire's source
Early this morning, a fire broke out in the Craft Hall at the Lazy W. Ranch on Hot Springs Canyon Road, off the Ortega Highway.  The remote area is about 9 miles from Coto deCaza and Rancho Santa Margarita.  Fire Investigators were looking into “heat lamps” used to warm reptiles that were kept in the building.  

Camp staff and residents attempted to battle the structure fire, but it quickly exceeded their capacity and an evacuation was ordered.  Shortly after they began to evacuate, firefighters arrived on scene. 

According to Brett Davidson, a Fire Prevention Officer with the US Forestry Service, the structure fire ignited the hillside and the fire quickly expanded, fanned by canyon winds as it reached the top of the hill.

“We thought that the Santa Ana winds knocked it back down the hill, but when we checked, the winds had just stopped,” said Davidson.  “I guess we had a little help from upstairs.” 

“The fire started about 4AM,” said Carter McCoy of the Ocean Institute.  “We do this all the time and we know the danger”, he said.  McCoy was leading an overnight educational adventure for students from La Cañada Elementary School.  According to McCoy, there were about 120 students and numerous chaperones.  They were loaded onto buses and quickly evacuated.  “The kids were really brave,” added McCoy.

In total, the blaze burned 5 acres of steep mountainous area in Hot Springs Canyon, but according to Davidson, it could have been a lot worse.  “We had two strike crews on scene pretty quickly to establish a perimeter.”  A strike crew is made up of 10 trucks and dozens of firefighters.  There were firefighters from the US Forest Service, the California Department of Forestry and the Orange County Fire Authority.

The last major fire in the area was the 1993 Ortega II fire that burned 20,000 acres.

Update: Fire off Ortega Highway
Fire Investigators examine the debris.

Copyright © 2006, LaderaPortal

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 October 2006 )
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