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Hill Fire 75 percent contained as crews mop up burn zone near Santa Margarita

Fire crews continued to gain control of the Hill Fire near Santa Margarita on Wednesday, holding the total area of the blaze to about 1,600 acres and reaching 75 percent containment.

Three structures were destroyed, though authorities are still working to confirm the type of structure, Cal Fire said. Homeowners are allowed back home. And Highway 58 at Parkhill Road is now open, according to Caltrans.

“We haven’t seen a whole lot of active fire behavior,” Cal Fire spokesman Chris Elms said. He added that officials don’t expect any more acreage growth at this point and firefighters will remain on scene for the next few days to work on containing the fire and putting out hot spots.

On Tuesday, fire crews were able to take control of the fast-moving blaze as it swept through the Santa Margarita area, with 60 percent containment by the end of the day. All roads were reopened, though non-residents aren’t allowed back yet, according to a San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office deputy on the scene.

The fire also reportedly destroyed “The Big Bang Theory” actor Johnny Galecki’s home. However, “he has not reached out to us and we have not confirmed anything with him,” Elms said.

On Wednesday, gray ashes and blackened trees surrounded a remote Stagecoach Canyon Road house destroyed in the fire. The home belongs to Lisa and Mickey Bruce, according to a GoFundMe page and San Luis Obispo County Assessor’s Office records.

All that remains of the three-story home is its concrete lower level and a crumpled garage door. House debris and skeletons of old furniture and household items were strewn about inside the structure’s shell.

Multiple burned-out vehicles, the insides empty of all but metal parts, were scattered around the property. Only a small garden on a nearby hill remained untouched by the flames.

Down the Bruces’ driveway, Cal Fire crews cleaned up the area as the ground near the home continued to crackle with heat from the fire. Firefighters with chainsaws cut down a burned-through tree, hacking it up into pieces to prevent it from falling on unsuspecting passers-by.

Moving forward, firefighters will continue building containment lines, mapping the fire area and cleaning up and assessing damage, said Cathey Mattingly, a Cal Fire spokeswoman. Although the fire hasn’t grown, Mattingly said the total fire area might increase, due to more accurate mapping.

“We haven’t had any forward spread,” she said.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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