Crews battled a fast-moving wildfire outside Los Angles overnight that authorities said had destroyed more than 20 expensive homes and forced evacuations,. The blaze, already dubbed The Coastal Fire, broke out between the towns of Laguna Niguel and Laguna Beach just before 3 p.m. local time and quickly spread to residential areas.
By 11 p.m., the fire was estimated to have engulfed 195 acres. There was zero containment.
No injuries were reported.
The cause was not known, but Southern California Edison said he notified state officials of “circuit activity” in the area where the fire started when it erupted.
Officials said the flames started as a 50ft by 50ft wildfire, but grew hastily, aided by ocean winds, and advanced to hillside areas. hill overlooking the Pacific. At least five multimillion-dollar homes were burned down. One was a mansion listed for $10 million.
Officials said the steep terrain in the area made it difficult to run hoses and get ground crews to where they needed to be. Fixed-wing aircraft dropping fire retardants and helicopters dropping water were used.
“We have the entire area focused on this fire right now to make sure we have all the firefighters available in the area to put out this fire,” Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said.
Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy said at a press conference Wednesday night, “Unfortunately, I think that’s what we’re going to be going through for the next few weeks and years. The vegetation is so dry that it doesn’t take much for the fire to take off and burn very quickly.”
Students at Laguna Beach High School were evacuated from their extracurricular activities.
Laguna Niguel Mayor Elaine Gennawey said 25 adults, two children and five animals were waiting at an evacuation center Wednesday night.
reports that a cat was rescued from one of the homes earlier today.
Firefighters also reported hearing what they believed to be ordnance exploding in one of the burning houses.
A video shared on social media showed huge plumes of smoke.