While the investigation into the destructive wildfire in Laguna Niguel is still in its early stages, Southern California Edison on Wednesday issued an initial report saying that electrical “circuit activity” occurred around the time the fire started.
“Our information reflects circuit activity occurring close in time to the reported time of the fire,” the utility said in a report to the California Public Utilities Commission that was obtained by KTLA.
The blaze, dubbed the Coastal Fire, broke out around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday in Aliso Woods Canyon and exploded in steep, dry terrain.
The fire, which forced evacuations, had consumed nearly 200 acres and burned at least 24 homes as of Thursday morning. About 900 homes were still under evacuation orders on Thursday.
One firefighter was injured in the blaze and taken to a hospital Wednesday.
“Our thoughts are with the community members whose homes have been damaged and those who were evacuated because of the Coastal Fire, and we are coordinating with fire agencies as needed to ensure firefighter safety,” SCE Spokesman Reggie Kumar said.
In the report, Edison officials said they submitted the document “out of an abundance of caution.”
Kumar said that the report to state regulators is intended to put them on notice of the incident so they can conduct their own investigation.
“Our top priority is the safety of customers, employees and communities, which is why we continue to enhance our wildfire mitigation efforts through grid hardening, situational awareness and enhanced operational practices,” Kumar added.
Electrical equipment has been blamed for igniting of some California’s most destructive wildfires.
Last year, California regulators approved a settlement placing more than half a billion dollars in fines and penalties on the utility for its role in five wildfires in 2017 and 2018, including the Thomas and Woolsey fires.
The Coastal Fire remains under investigation and no further details were available on the unspecified “circuit activity.”