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Crews defend Silverado Canyon homes from ground, air

Hand crews are cutting fire breaks to save hundreds of homes in rural Orange County as 13 water-dropping helicopters and four air tankers are battling the Santiago blaze from the sky.

"The main area of focus today is Silverado Canyon, where the fire is still threatening homes," said Fire Authority Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion. Firefighters are engaged in "structure protection, trying to establish a line between the fire and the homes."

After days of erratic winds and bone-dry humidity levels, the weather is finally cooperating with firefighters, he said. Temperatures are decreasing, humidity is increasing and moist ocean breezes are blowing inland.

-- Seema Mehta

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