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California Wildfires

Vicky Walker hugs Orange County Fire Authority firefighter Jose Garcia as she thanks him for helping to save her home in Anaheim Hills in Anaheim Monday, Oct. 9. Firefighters were gaining an upper hand on the fire Wednesday as weather shifted.

More than 1,600 firefighters battling the fast-moving and devastating 8,000-acre Canyon Fire 2 are steadily gaining control of the blaze -- aided by cooler overnight temperatures and the return of the morning marine layer.

The humidity is expected to be around 60 percent Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service, and temperatures should be in the mid-70s in the eastern edges of Anaheim and Orange, where the fire has been burning for the last three days.

As the fire stretched into day three, officials announced that containment was at 45 percent and full containment was expected sometime on Saturday, Oct. 14.

The blaze has destroyed 15 structures and damaged 12, according to the most recent estimate. Three people have been injured.

Houses north of Santiago Canyon Road and just west of Santiago Oaks Regional Park in Orange remain the only ones under evacuation orders. Everyone else in Anaheim, Orange and Tustin were allowed to return home Tuesday evening.

"While the loss of so many homes and the memories they held has devastated many families," Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada wrote to residents in an open letter Tuesday evening, "they can and will rebuild, and the city of Anaheim will stand with them throughout that process."

Quezada also said that, as the clean-up and rebuilding begins, residents should take time to ensure they are ready for future emergencies.

The official Wednesday update from unified command -- which includes the leaders of several agencies, including the Orange County Fire Authority and Anaheim Fire & Rescue -- also urged residents to "stay vigilant to change in weather and fire conditions" as they return to their homes.

Firefighters have turned a corner in their battle with the blaze, said Capt. Thanh Nguyen of the Garden Grove Fire Department.

Rather than focusing on halting the spread of the fire on the eastern side of the 241 toll road, like they did Tuesday, crews on Wednesday were working to tamp down hot spots across the entire 8,000 acres, continuing the protection of structures and cutting more containment lines.

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The acreage burned hasn't increased since Tuesday evening, Nguyen said. One of the goals is to make sure there are no flare-ups, which the cooler weather should help.

Leaders in unified command are also having conversations about when to let the remaining evacuees return home, said Capt. Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority. They hope to allow them to return sometime Wednesday, but it is too soon to tell, he added.

If the fire remains under control, some crews from outside of the area should be released throughout the day, Kurtz said.

The fire was first reported Monday morning near the 91 Freeway and Coal Canyon before 10 a.m.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Staff writer Beatriz E. Valenzuela contributed to this report.