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Brush fire near San Juan Capistrano expected to be contained by tonight

November 17, 2009 |  9:00 am

Ortega Firefighters are working to fully contain a brush fire that has burned 245 acres east of San Juan Capistrano by tonight, an official said.

Crews are cutting breaks around the Ortega fire, which is 75% contained, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown. The fire, which began Monday, appears to have been sparked by a power line that was knocked down by a tractor as it drove on private property, authorities said.

Four firefighters have been injured in the battle: One hurt his shoulder, another his knee, one his eye and one suffered from heat exhaustion. Their conditions were unknown, McKeown said.

 Five water-dropping helicopters and two air tankers made drops on the fire until sunset Monday, McKeown said, while 293 firefighters fought the fire through the night. Firefighters are working in rough terrain in a bowl-shaped valley.

Me-OCwildfire16  "It's very steep, so because it's so steep, it's very hard for the firefighters to work on that slope," McKeown said. He added that firefighters plan to set controlled fires to eliminate some unburned fuel in the valley. Cooler weather is expected to help firefighters gain control of the fire.

Fire units responded to the blaze after a call at 11:28 a.m. Monday

-- Baxter Holmes and Robert J. Lopez

Photo: As crews battle the Ortega fire, a helicopter dumps a load of water on a ridge Monday evening. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times