SR 74, Ortega Highway, has been re-opened to the public. The highway connecting Lake Elsinore and the surrounding area with the coastal counties of Orange and San Diego had been closed since the Holy Fire broke out on Monday, August 6.
Crews from CalTrans have spent the last few days cleaning debris from the roadway to ensure safe travels. The road is in good condition, but is stained red with Phos-chek in several places. Many dozer lines come straight down to the road, and the shoulders are littered with dirt and vegetation.
Residents are able to access El Cariso Village, but Main Divide north of Ortega Highway (3S04) and Long Valley Road are still closed, preventing access to the homes north of El Cariso, and to the Blue Jay and Falcon campgrounds. There is no word yet on when these roads will open or when the campgrounds will be accessible.
When in the El Cariso area, drive slowly, as there is still an active fire being fought. Fire trucks and other support equipment may enter the road at any time.
Smoke is still visible from several places on the highway, but the Cleveland National Forest has asked that the public not report the smoke or possible flare-ups unless they are outside the established fire lines:
As of today, the Holy Fire has burned 22,986 acres and is 64% contained. Full containment is expected to occur on or around August 17.