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A brush fire scorches over 150 acres in Aliso Viejo forcing nearly 2,000 to evacuate

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Posted at 7:44 PM, Jun 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-03 12:30:49-04

ALISO VIEJO (CNS) - A fire that forced thousands to evacuate between Aliso Viejo and Laguna Beach has been downgraded to 150 ares and is now 10 percent contained. 

Fire officials previously reported that the blaze had scorched 250 acres. 

The fire was first reported at 1:07 p.m. in Wood Canyon behind Soka University of America, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito said.

The fire threatened structures at Soka University of America and the Top of the World neighborhood of Laguna Beach.

Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft made water drops and Saturday night in an effort to contain the fire. 

Mandatory evacuations were began at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Aliso Viejo affecting about 2,000 homes  in the area of Wood Canyon and Pacific Park drives.

An evacuation shelter was to open at Aliso Niguel High School, 28000 Wolverwine Way, the city of Aliso Viejo said.

About 1,500 residents were evacuated from Top of the World and the Old Top of the World and the evacuees were sent to the Susi Q Center at 380 Third St. in Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach police said.

No injuries were reported.

400 firefighters were battling the blaze including multiple engines in place for structure defense, he said.

Fire behavior was termed "extreme" and canyon winds were "erratic," firefighters said.

Both ends of Wood Canyon Road were closed and residents who left their homes were not allowed to return due to smoke and ash and a need to keep roads clear for first responders.

Costa Mesa High School was scheduled to hold its prom today at Soka University and that event was postponed one week, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District said.