A brush fire burning in Laguna Niguel led to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department calling for residents to immediately evacuate as some homes went up in flames Wednesday afternoon.
The fire first broke out around 2:45 p.m. in Aliso Woods Canyon, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
The brush fire, which was dubbed the Coastal Fire, was estimated to have burned about three acres when crews arrived on scene.
Evacuation orders have been issued in the Pacific Island area for Coronado Pointe Drive, Vista Court and Via Las Rosa.
Voluntary evacuations were in place for residents in the Balboa Nyes (Portafina) neighborhood until about 8:25 p.m., Laguna Beach announced in a press release. Residents who did evacuate could return to their homes, though they were asked to remain vigilant overnight.
Sheriff’s officials described the fire as “fast moving,” and Orange County fire officials said the fire has burned about 200 acres.
Images from Sky5 showed multiple houses on fire with smoke and flames visible. The total number of structures damaged or destroyed is unclear at this time.
An evacuation center has been set up at the Crown Valley Community Center at 29751 Crown Valley Pkwy. in Laguna Niguel for residents who have been displaced by the fire, Laguna Niguel city officials said. Those traveling to the evacuation center are urged to avoid driving on Pacific Island Drive from Highlands Avenue to Crown Valley Parkway.
Orange County was expected to experience light winds Wednesday with gusts up to about 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Officials said the strength of the offshore winds was not unusual and instead said the area erupted in flames due to a combination of steep terrain and an abundance of dry fuel.
Orange County residents are urged to register for emergency alert notifications by visiting AlertOC.org.
For more information about the Coastal Fire, click here. You can also call the public information hotline at 714-628-7085.