Canyon Fire 2 now 60 percent contained; 9,200 acres burned

ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Firefighters are making major progress on the destructive fire that ignited in the Anaheim Hills area, where thousands of residents have returned home after fleeing the flames of Canyon Fire 2.

As of Wednesday night, the blaze had charred 9,217 acres and was 60 percent contained, Anaheim Fire and Rescue officials said. A total of 15 structures, many of them homes, were destroyed in the blaze. Nearly a dozen more homes were damaged in the ferocious blaze.

In the latest update, firefighters said they expect to have Canyon Fire 2 completely contained by Saturday.

MORE: Full list of evacuation orders, road closures for Canyon Fire 2

A break in the winds, higher humidity levels and cooler temps Wednesday gave fire fighters a chance to gain ground on the blaze.

Many evacuated residents were able to return home Wednesday night. Homeowners along Tamarisk Drive thought their home made it through unscathed - until they got inside.

"When she opened up the home, she noticed it was full of smoke, unlike the air on the outside of the home. And at the same time, my son turns around and he noticed that there was smoke in the attic," described Michael Halberda.

PHOTOS: Canyon 2 Fire destroys homes, prompts evacuations in Orange County

Sometimes, an ember under the eaves is all it takes. Luckily, the residents came home in time to discover it.

"We were fortunate. We've ended up with damage in the home on the west end, but by virtue of us coming back, we probably weren't supposed to, we saved our home," Halberda said.

As residents sift through the path of the fire, many are marveling at how selective the flames seemed to be.

It is not uncommon to see completely charred homes right next to homes that appeared to be unscathed by the fire. Some residents think good brush clearance made the difference for them.

VIDEO: Wall from 2-story Anaheim Hills home collapses in Canyon Fire 2
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Shocking video shows a two-story home collapsing as firefighters work to put out the flames from the Canyon Fire 2 in Orange County on Monday.

"We put a fence around the perimeter of our home and cleared out all the brush, because we were going to put an orchard there, a small orchard, and nothing, very little came to our house," said Georgia Alevizos, an Anaheim Hills resident.

The fire scorched some trees in Alevizos' backyard, but otherwise her home is OK.

The Canyon Fire 2 comes not long after another brush fire burned about 2,600 acres at the Anaheim-Corona border in late September. This was the original Canyon Fire, which prompted dozens of evacuations in Corona.

The cause of the Canyon 2 Fire was unknown.

If you have any questions, Anaheim Fire and Rescue provided a fire information line at (714) 765-4333. For those in Orange, a non-emergency information line can be reached at (714) 744-7495.
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