Laguna Beach fire
LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA)__ A massive fire has caused widespread evacuations in Laguna Beach, California’s Emerald Bay, burning 145 acres as hundreds of residents rush to evacuate, leaving their homes immediately.
The Emerald Fire was first reported at 4:09 a.m., according to the Orange County Fire Department.
A video from Sky2 showed a wall of flames on the ridgeline above Emerald Bay, a gated community of dozens of mega homes valued at millions of dollars.
Residents were allowed to return to their homes around 3 pm
Massive brush fire erupts in Laguna Beach, forcing hundreds of evacuations
People living in that neighborhood, as well as Irvine Bay, are now subject to immediate evacuation orders, with an evacuation warning in place in North Laguna.
At a press conference, OCFA President Brian Venety said the fire had burned 145 acres and was 5% contained as of 9:30 a.m.
The Pacific Coast Highway was closed for several hours between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, but has since reopened.
The City of Laguna Beach released a statement: “Homes are currently at risk with the potential for more buildings to be threatened if the fire spreads.”
No homes were damaged and no injuries were reported.
The Laguna Beach Unified School District reports that all of its schools will be closed Thursday.
The fire will continue to be ignited by strong Santa Ana winds, along with unusually warm temperatures in the mid-1970s.
The last time the area experienced a brush fire was in 1993, when several homes were destroyed.
This time, Veneci noted, the firefighters were more prepared.