Wind-driven brush fire prompts evacuations in SoCal

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An unpredictable, wind-driven brush fire in south Orange County prompted neighborhood evacuations in Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo. (KABC)

An unpredictable, wind-driven brush fire in south Orange County prompted neighborhood evacuations in Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo amid a response from more than 400 firefighters Saturday afternoon, officials said.

What was first reported as a 25-acre brush fire spread to at least 250 acres. Containment was at 0 percent, according to Laguna Beach fire and police officials.

The so-called Aliso Fire broke out about 1 p.m. along a trail in the Aliso Woods Canyon, located near Aliso Viejo's Soka University of America, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

There were no reports of injuries or structural damage.

Eight fire strike teams, six air tankers and four helicopters were used in the firefight and will continue to work throughout the night, Laguna Beach police said. On the ground, bulldozers cut a line near hilltop homes to stop the flames from racing up a ridge.

OCFA Capt. Tony Bommarito said the wind shifted multiple times throughout the firefight, which caused several spot fires and difficulty for fire crews.

By 7 p.m. OCFA officials said firefighters had the upper hand while winds began to diminish.

About 2,000 residents at one point were impacted by the fire and homes were threatened, officials said. Evacuation orders in Aliso Viejo were lifted at 9 p.m., according to the OCFA.

All evacuations were expected to remain in place in Laguna Beach neighborhoods through Sunday morning, Laguna Beach police said.



Meantime, Costa Mesa High School's prom at Soka University of America was postponed a week due to the fire, according to school officials.

Many evacuated residents said they were well aware of the danger.

"We have the dog, we have the wedding rings, we have the heirlooms and the important documents. We trust in the Laguna Beach Fire Department," said Laguna Beach resident Toni Engstrom.


EVACUATION ORDERS:

-Top of the World and Old Top of the World neighborhoods in Laguna Beach.

-All neighborhoods along Alta Laguna Boulevard and down Park Avenue to Bern Drive and Temple Hills Drive to Dorn Court.

EVACUATION CENTERS:

-The Susi Q Center, located at 380 3rd Street in Laguna Beach, for food and shelter. Animals are welcome.

-A Red Cross shelter at Aliso Niguel High School, located at 28000 Wolverine Way in Aliso Viejo. Additional parking is available at the Ziggurat building in Laguna Niguel at 24000 Avila Road.

A hotline has been set up for fire information: 714-628-7085.
Related Topics:
brush firefirefightersorange county fire authorityfireLaguna BeachOrange County
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