Fast-moving brush fire races up OC hillside, burns homes

Orange County Wildfire
Orange County Wildfire
Posted at 5:31 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 02:19:53-04

LAGUNA NIGUEL (CNS) — A wind- and terrain-driven fire chewed through brush in Aliso Wood Canyon between Laguna Niguel and Laguna Beach Wednesday, with the flames advancing toward high-dollar hillside estates overlooking the ocean, burning at least five multimillion-dollar homes.

The fire was reported at 2:44 p.m., Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Sean Doran said.

The fire was estimated to be about three acres as of 3:30 p.m., but spread to at least 30 acres by 5 p.m.

The flames spread quickly as they tore through thick brush on the hillside, aided by ocean winds that sparked spot fires ahead of the main blaze. The fire pushed its way uphill, advancing on Aliso Summit Trail and into the neighboring multimillion-dollar estates.

Multiple structures caught fire in the 30300 block of La Vue near the Aliso Summit Trail, with others along Coronado Pointe also believed to have burned.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The flames advanced even as fixed-wing planes dropped fire retardant on the hillside in hopes of slowing the advance of the flames. Several water- dropping helicopters were also being employed in the firefight.

Evacuations were ordered in the Coronado Pointe and Pacific Island Drive areas, while voluntary evacuation orders were issued in the Balboa Nyes and Moulton Meadows neighborhoods in Laguna Beach. Students taking part in after-school activities at Laguna Beach High School were also evacuated, according to the school district.