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Crews stop progress of brush fire in Irvine near 405 Freeway

Eric Licas

September 15, 2019

The Orange County Register

Firefighters tackled a brush fire in Irvine near the 405 Freeway on Sunday, Sept. 15.

The fire burned near Shady Canyon Drive, just west of the freeway, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Paul Holaday said. It had scorched about three acres by 5:15 p.m. In all, it had consumed 16.1 acres of brush before crews managed to halt its progress at 5:45 p.m.

A tall plume of black smoke could be seen by passing motorists as flames consumed brush along a hillside. However, it never got closer than a half-mile away from the freeway, Holaday said.

No injuries were reported, police and firefighters said. No structures were threatened, and no residents were ordered to evacuate.

OCFA Station #47 was the closest building to the flames, and had an engine specifically designed to handle wildfires. It was at the fire line within minutes, Holaday said. That station also has an engine for structure fires, manned by the same crew that staffs the wildfire engine. So the structure fire engine was not used in Sunday’s brush fire, Holaday said.

Those firefighters were joined by 10 other engines and three aircraft, and worked with the aid of aerial surveillance from an Orange County Sheriff’s helicopter and an Irvine Police Department drone.

The fire did damage part of the nearby Quail Hill Loop Trail, Irvine Police officials said in a Tweet. It will be closed for at least several days, until authorities determine that the area is safe to travel through.

The California Highway Patrol log showed officers had prepared to close the 405 southbound Shady Canyon off-ramp because of the fire, but it was later decided the off-ramp could remain open.

Authorities did not immediately suggest what might have started the fire. Investigation into its cause was ongoing Sunday evening. In addition, firefighters would remain in the area through the night to monitor for flare-ups, Holaday said.

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