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Newport brush fire contained

October 14, 2008|Susannah Rosenblatt | Times Staff Writer

A small but dangerous brush fire that edged toward pricey Newport Beach homes Monday afternoon, damaging two homes and spurring a brief evacuation, was contained just two hours after it began, authorities said.

The 35-acre fire, pushed by Santa Ana winds, chewed up hillsides in a neighborhood near Bonita Canyon Drive off the 73 toll road, threatening but not destroying any homes, said Jennifer Schulz, community education coordinator with the Newport Beach Fire Department.

The voluntary evacuation zone, which targeted about 300 residents, stretched south from Hilltop Drive to San Joaquin Hills Road, affecting streets east of San Miguel Drive, Schulz said. She could not estimate how many houses had been at risk.

Residents were eventually allowed to return home, Schulz said, but vehicles were temporarily barred from Port Carlisle Place, Port Aberdeen Place and Port Durness Place because of the presence of emergency vehicles.

The blaze, burning not far from the upscale Fashion Island mall, was first reported at 3:20 p.m. and was contained by 5:15 p.m.

The department dispatched scores of firefighters and three helicopters to dump water on the flames. Fire crews, Schulz said, would continue to mop up the area and put out spot fires overnight.

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susannah.rosenblatt@latimes.com

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