The Coastal Fire is still burning Thursday morning, with nearly 200 acres burned and 20 buildings destroyed in Southern California’s only active wildfire.
The fire is 15% contained as of 5 p.m. Thursday, and the fire hasn’t expanded beyond the 200 acres it reached Wednesday evening.
At a press conference Thursday evening, OC Fire Authority officials confirmed at least 20 buildings were completely destroyed and another 11 had been damaged.
Everything south of Laguna Niguel City Hall to the Laguna Hills Racquet Club on the west side of Crown Valley Parkway is under a mandatory evacuation order as of 7:20 a.m. Thursday.
Evacuation orders in Laguna Niguel will remain in effect overnight according to the OC Sheriff’s Department.
To view the sheriff’s live evacuation map, click here.
While fire authority officials gave an update during a Thursday morning news conference, they refused to publicly answer press corps questions during the livestream. They instead held “breakout sessions” for reporters.
Crown Valley Community Center has been opened as an evacuation center for residents at 29751 Crown Valley Parkway.
Residents looking for more information are encouraged to call the emergency operations center hotline at (714) 628-7085. For help with pets, the OC Fire Authority is directing residents to Mission Viejo Animal Control at (949) 470-3045.
All evacuation orders in Laguna Beach have been lifted.
Moulton Elementary is closed for the day, with plans to have students attend Wood Canyon instead according to a tweet from the Capistrano Unified School District.
The fire started Wednesday afternoon in the Aliso and Woods Canyon Wilderness Park and swiftly spread into the surrounding area.
While Southern California Edison reported “circuit activity,” to state regulators in the area around where the fire started, something they’re required by law to do.
At a Thursday morning news conference, OC Fire Authority Assistant Chief of Operations TJ McGovern said the cause of the fire remained under investigation.
This isn’t the area’s first big wildfire in recent history.
In February, the Emerald Fire burned 154 acres along the northern edge of Laguna Beach, forcing evacuations as firefighters fought for several days to reign in the blaze before it reached Newport Beach.
That fire burned in the same spot as the infamous 1993 Laguna Fire, which burned through 441 homes and over 14,000 acres.
Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporter and Report for America corps member, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.