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Climate and Environment

Laguna Niguel Coastal Fire Evacuations Extended Through Thursday Night

The burned out husk of a car, wheels left with no tire around them, ashen pieces/remnants all around, as firefighters stand nearby. Yellow caution tape extends in the background, with an intact house behind as well.
The remnants of a car destroyed in an Orange County fire, as seen May 12, 2022.
(Jill Replogle
/
LAist )
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A fast moving wildfire has burned around 24 homes and forced close to 900 homes to evacuate in Laguna Niguel. The fire quickly burned 200 acres Wednesday after starting just before 3 p.m., but that acreage has remained the same a day later. The fire is approximately 15% contained.

Orange County proclaimed an emergency in response to the fire.

“I'm currently working with [California State Senator Pat Bates], the county staff and the Orange County Fire Authority to leverage all available resources, including any state and federal funding to support the city and the residents impacted by this tragedy,” Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said ahead of the proclamation's release.

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Two firefighters were injured, but both have been treated and released.

The Basics

  • Acreage: 199 acres
  • Containment: 15%
  • Structures destroyed: 20, 11 more damaged

The Background

The fire was first reported just before 3 p.m. Wednesday and quickly spread from 30 acres at 5 p.m. to 200 acres by 6:15 p.m.

Flames came to a head on a hilltop and rapidly moved into a wealthy neighborhood, burning homes in La Vue and Coronado Pointe near the Aliso Summit Trail.

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The Coastal Fire comes on the heels of the Emerald Fire that burned 154 acres around northern Laguna Beach in February.

SoCal Edison sent a report to the California Public Utilities Commission saying, "Our information reflects circuit activity occurring close in time to the reported time of the fire. Our investigation is ongoing."

The Utilities Commission said in a subsequent statement to LAist/KPCC, "The CPUC is conducting a staff investigation to assess the compliance of electric facilities with applicable rules and regulations."

However, they added, Cal Fire or the local fire district will be the ones to determine how the fire started and spread.

Evacuations

Check ocsheriff.gov/coastalfire for the latest information.

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Mandatory: Mandatory evacuations are in place for people living north of the intersection of Flying Cloud and Pacific Island Drives, Highlands Avenue and Pacific Island Drive, and neighborhoods entered from Niguel Road and west of Highlands Avenue. Evacuations for neighborhoods impacted by the fire have been extended overnight Thursday, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

Voluntary: The area south of Flying Cloud Drive and Pacific Island Drive to the intersection of Pacific Island Drive and Crown Valley Parkway is under a Voluntary Evacuation Warning.

Evacuation Center

For people: The Crown Valley Community Center is welcoming evacuees at 29751 Crown Valley Parkway.

For animals: none listed

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Road Closures

Residents are being asked to avoid the area.

School Closures

None

Air Quality

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued a smoke advisory today because of the fire.

Weather Conditions

No wind advisories in Orange County, temperatures in the 70s.

Scenes On The Ground

Climate Change

Fires are a critical part of the landscape in the Western U.S., but according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, “the area burned by wildfire from 1984 to 2015 was twice what would have burned had climate change not occurred.” Put simply, hotter, drier conditions throughout more of the year have made fuels more susceptible to burning across the state.

How We’re Reporting On This

This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

Additional Information

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

Resources

What questions do you have about the fires burning in Southern California?