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Orange County

Yorba Linda Spared by Fire

Danger: Flames approach homes, but wind sends blaze into Chino Hills State Park. Two boys arrested.

April 22, 2002|DAVID REYES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

After flames came to within 20 yards of backyard fences Sunday night, winds pushed back a fire in east Yorba Linda, sending it into the wilds of Chino Hills State Park.

By nightfall, the fire had charred 125 acres. Flames had died down, said Capt. Stephen Miller, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority. He said that although the blaze was only 20% contained, firefighters were confident no more structures were threatened.

Late Sunday, fire officials and Brea police arrested two 15-year-old boys for allegedly starting the fire by playing with illegal fireworks, said Miller.

The youths were part of a group of boys seen playing in the area. The two boys arrested were released to their parents, he said.

The fire started about 5 p.m. near a steep ridge along Evening Breeze Drive, which is next to open land on Orange County's eastern border, Miller said.

Residents said the fire moved quickly up the ridge.

''It's too close to our house right now. I can't talk. I've got to grab a hose,'' yelled one resident on the telephone.

Anxious neighbors spent the late afternoon wetting lawns and bushes around their homes while eyeing the hillside, where flames shot 20 feet into the air.

''People were turning on their lawn sprinklers and watering everything,'' said resident Tim Scaboo, 20. ''Although there were lots of firefighters, it had some people really nervous.''

Though flames came near backyards, residents were not evacuated.

Strong winds pushed flames east into the state park in San Bernardino County. Miller said there were no structures within the park.

Firefighters hoped lower temperatures, overnight moisture and calm winds would help crews knock down the brush fire by today.

''Originally there was a potential, and homes were threatened, but the winds were in our favor,'' Miller said.

More than 120 firefighters from several agencies fought the fire. An airplane and two helicopters dropped fire retardant and water in the early stages of the fire.

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