The smell of smoke over south Orange County has dissipated greatly, and firefighters battling the Baker Fire clearly have an upper hand on the stubborn mulch fire at a green waste facility in Santiago Canyon.
Firefighters made steady progress Monday as the 50-acre battle entered its second day.
The fire was 80 percent contained by late afternoon, and a voluntary evacuation order was lifted, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
The fire was reported Sunday, 10:10 a.m., in a mulch pile at Aguinaga
Green, according to OCFA Capt. Steve Concialdi. The business is one of two Aguinaga Greens in Orange County; it recycles green waste at 27910 Baker Canyon Road, near
Black Star Canyon Road.
the fire was under investigation, but temperatures inside mulch piles are known to get very hot, which helps break down the organic matter.
The fire then spread into wild vegetation in the Santa Ana Mountains and damaged a barn, Concialdi said.
Crews in water-dropping helicopters and fixed wing aircraft were assisting in the firefighting effort.
A voluntary evacuation order was issued for residents of six Baker Canyon homes and a nearby mobile home park, and 21 residents left their homes, but OCFA officials said residents would be allowed back to their homes at 6 p.m.
Concialdi said one firefighter suffered a minor ankle injury battling the fire Sunday.
OCFA officials said full containment of the fire was expected by Thursday, one day later than previously announced.
Temperatures in the are are expected to drop by more than 10 degrees, to 75, on Tuesday, and 63 on Wednesday with a chance of rain.
—Martin Henderson contributed to this report