Orange County Laguna Niguel Coastal Fire Claims 20 Homes, Evacuation Orders Continue

UPDATE, MAY 12 6 PM:  Fire officials say 20 homes were destroyed and 11 damaged by the Coastal Fire, which is now estimated at 15% contained. There are still 200 acres burned, a total that has not grown since early reports.

Two firefighters are reported injured, but there were no details on their status beyond they are expected to be okay.

.Evacuation orders for about 900 homes will be extended to Friday. Firefighters are still sifting through areas and extinguishing embers they may have missed in rubble hot spots.

EARLIER:  The wealthy communities surrounding Laguna Niguel, Calif. are under a fire threat tonight, as high winds have caused a brush fire to explode to more than 200 acres in early evenig.

More than a dozen homes overlooking the ocean in Laguna Niguel were burning, and nearby communities are preparing evaculation orders if the so-called “Coastal Fire” progresses.

Laguna Niguel is one of the most expensive cities in Orange County, located south of Los Angeles County. It boasts a median household income of $108,537 as of 2019. The typical home value is $1,294,837, per Zillow, but many homes near the beach can be much more expensive.

The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon between Laguna Niguel and Laguna Beach near a water treatment plant, according to the Orange County Fire Authority. Around 5 PM, the first was at 30 acres, but ballooned to more than 200 acres just an hour later. Hot embers entering attics pose a particular problem for firefighters.

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