Some Holy fire evacuations lifted for Lake Elsinore neighborhoods Saturday
In a sign that firefighters have a firmer handle on the Holy fire near Lake Elsinore, residents of three areas who were forced to flee were allowed to return home Saturday morning, Aug. 11.
Evacuations for the neighborhoods of Horsethief Canyon, McVickers and Rice Canyon were lifted, said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the incident commanders.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Nguyen said about 8 a.m. Saturday.
See also: Holy fire grows to 21,473 acres, now 29 percent contained, 3,000 structures near Lake Elsinore still threatened
About an hour earlier, the Cleveland National Forest announced that the containment of the fire, which began Monday, had almost tripled from 10 percent Friday to 29 percent. The acreage had increased overnight from 19,107 to 21,473 acres.
“Relative humidity has increased, so that always slows the fire behavior down significantly, even though we have the (steep) terrain and the (dry) fuels,” Nguyen said.
The mop-up process is beginning in some areas.
“When you hear that, it means we’re making some progress, Nguyen said.
The 1,511 firefighters on the blaze include those on 141 engines, 18 helicopters, 12 airplanes, 23 bulldozers, 12 water tenders and 34 hand crews.
Friday night, containment lines were strengthened on the northwest side of the fire in Coldwater Canyon, north of the North Main Divide Road. Firefighters work to strengthen lines east and southeast of the fire. A bulldozer line was constructed around El Cariso Village to keep fire from entering the community.
A damage-assessment team went into the field Friday, and the number of structures damaged remained at 12. Officials said five firefighters have been injured.