Canyon Fire Scorches 2,000 acres - 45 Percent Contained

ANAHEIM (CNS) - The 2000-acre Canyon Fire was 45 percent contained today as crews fought the blaze for a fourth day, expecting full containment this weekend.

Evacuation orders were lifted Wednesday for hundreds of Corona-area homes that were initially threatened by the blaze. About 1,500 residents from 500 homes near the Riverside (91) Freeway were initially affected.

Authorities expect full containment of the fire on the Orange- Riverside county border by Sunday.

The fire broke out about 1 p.m. Monday alongside the eastbound Riverside Freeway, just west of Green River Road in west Corona, and initially spread at a ``moderate'' rate to Coal Canyon Road off the freeway, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.

The fire began spreading at a ``rapid rate'' around 3 p.m. Monday, fanned by Santa Ana winds blowing at 20 to 25 mph. By Monday night, it had charred about 2,000 acres and had damaged a single-family home and a big rig.

The blaze was being fought by about 1,900 firefighters from the Anaheim, Corona and Los Angeles County fire departments, the OCFA, U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire. Twelve helicopters and five air tankers were assigned to the firefight, Concialdi said. At the height of the fire earlier this week, a DC-10 air tanker was deployed.

Fire crews confirmed that one house and two other structures were damaged by the flames.

The Corona Norco Unified School District cancelled classes at seven schools Wednesday due to evacuations, road closures and poor air quality. The schools will be open today, officials said.

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