Falls Fire: 1,416-acre blaze near Lake Elsinore 73 percent contained

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Firefighters are making headway on the 1,416 acre wildfire burning in the Cleveland National Forest near Lake Elsinore.

The Falls Fire was 73 percent contained as of Wednesday morning, said Marc Peebles, a spokesman with Southern California Incident Management Team 3. 

"There's still quite a bit of heat in certain spots down in some steep canyons," Peebles said. "Temperatures are mild this morning, and there's a little bit of cloud cover, so that will give our day shift guys some time to really get after those hot spots."

 But that doesn't mean crews are letting their guard down.

 Peebles said Thursday marks the 54th anniversary of the Decker Canyon Fire. 

"Several firefighters lost their lives in a fire almost in this exact footprint of this fire, he said. "So that's a somber and special reminder to be extra safe out there and that's what we're telling our folks."

Officials are expected to send many of the fire crews home today. 

"We're starting what we call 'the rampdown,'" Peebles said. "As you can imagine with the fire we had, we had large resources orders  placed and those folks came in, did some really good work for us."

Peebles said personnel peaked at 1,202 crew members. He expects crews will  have the fire fully contained by Friday.

Decker Canyon residents were allowed to return home Tuesday night after fire officials lifted all evacuation orders. 

Highway 74 is open to residents only with an escort by the California Highway Patrol.

Four firefighters have been hurt battling the fire - 3 with minor heat-related injuries and another with a shoulder injury. 

Two outbuildings have been damaged.

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