CORONA — A controlled fire, designed to prevent future wildfires on the slopes of the Santa Ana Mountains, got out of hand Thursday, but winds pushed the flames to an area that the U.S. Forest Service was planning to burn anyway.
"Everything was kind of quiet, then the winds came up late (Thursday) afternoon," said Bill Pidanick, spokesman for the Trabuco Ranger District of Cleveland National Forest.
Earlier in the day, "without the wind, we could hardly get it to burn at all," he said, but 20-m.p.h. winds in the late afternoon spread the flames downhill, into uninhabited McBride Canyon.
The Forest Service called for some additional firefighting equipment but allowed the fire to burn until about 11 p.m., seven hours after a planned end to the burning.
The fire was the first in a series of small, controlled burns planned to "reinforce the holding lines" for a 1,400-acre fire scheduled for May 20 to clear dense, combustible brush from the forest, Pidanick said.
More controlled fires are planned for Monday through Thursday.