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Emerald fire: 90% containment anticipated for late Saturday

Firefighters anticipate having the Emerald fire 90% contained by Saturday night, and are hopeful it will be fully contained by mid-week, authorities said.

On Saturday morning, firefighters continued to keep the blaze under control, holding it to 154 acres overnight, with 60% containment, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

Despite another warm day on tap, with temperatures expected in the 80s, officials were optimistic that some firefighters would be released, he said.

The fire broke out at 4:10 a.m. Thursday and quickly spread to 145 acres in the hills above the Emerald Bay and Irvine Cove communities in the Laguna Beach area. It came close to homes but turned laterally instead of continuing into the neighborhood, OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy said Thursday.

The cause of the fire was not yet known.

As of 9 a.m. Saturday, no structures were damaged and no injuries to firefighters or civilians had been reported, Concialdi said.

Overnight, crews continued to use drone technology to find and cool down hot spots, he said.

“Relative humidity went up and we had cooler temperatures,” Concialdi said. “We directed firefighters on the ground to those areas to make sure those were all extinguished and cool.”

Firefighters got a quick handle on the fire due to a number of reasons, which included more available resources and the ability for an OCFA helicopter to make water drops during the pre-dawn hours, Concialdi said.

While 185 firefighters were still working the fire, Concialdi said those numbers were expected to decrease throughout the day. Some firefighters would stay in the area for the next few days, he said, working suppression repair to prevent the possibility of erosion and runoff during the next rain cycle.

Firefighters were able to get into the neighborhoods to defend homes because residents evacuated and gave them the space to do that, officials said.

Source: Orange County Register

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