Watch CBS News

LIVE UPDATES: Coastal Fire destroys at least 20 homes in Laguna Niguel

get the free app
  • link copied
Laguna Niguel brush fire destroys at least 20 homes
Laguna Niguel brush fire destroys at least 20 homes 03:55

Hundreds of firefighters were continuing Thursday to battle a swift-moving wildfire which broke out Wednesday afternoon -- destroyed at least 20 homes in the upscale Orange County coastal neighborhood of Laguna Niguel -- and forced hundreds to evacuate. 

The Coastal Fire was reported at 2:44 p.m. near the South Orange County Wastewater Authority's Coastal Treatment Plant, which handles sewage for the Laguna Beach area, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Scott Steinle.  

It chewed through brush in Aliso Wood Canyon between Laguna Niguel and Laguna Beach, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Sean Doran said.   

The flames spread quickly as they tore through thick brush on the hillsides, aided by ocean winds that sparked spot fires ahead of the main blaze. The fire pushed its way uphill, advancing on Aliso Summit Trail and into the Coronado Pointe gated community with multimillion-dollar estates. The treatment plant was not damaged. 

As of Thursday afternoon, the fire remained at 200 acres burned, with 15% containment. A total of 20 homes were completely destroy and 11 were damaged. Authorities also said 550 firefighters were deployed to the scene, two of whom were injured. Both firefighters have since been released from the hospital. 

Officials also said that 900 people were evacuated. 

Homes destroyed as Laguna Niguel brush fire rips through Orange County coastal community
A home burns on Coronado Pointe during the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel, Calif., on May 11, 2022.  Jeff Gritchen/Orange County Register/Getty Images

Mandatory evacuations were in place in the Coronado Pointe and Pacific Island Drive areas. New mandatory evacuations were also ordered Thursday for neighborhoods accessed from Niguel Road, west of Highland Avenue.  

Voluntary evacuation orders were also in place for Balboa Nyes and Moulton Meadows neighborhoods in Laguna Beach. 

In total, about 900 homes were under mandatory and voluntary evacuations. 

"What we experienced was a fire, wind-driven, down a relatively level flat terrain, until it hit the side of that slope," O.C. Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy said. "And fire is always going to run uphill faster, wind or no wind. But when you have that strong a wind blowing that fire uphill. And if you're familiar with that area, it is extremely steep, extremely thick vegetation that has not burned in probably decades. Once it's got ahold, and started up that hill, I think we all saw that, as soon as I got to my car at headquarters I could see that tremendous smoke column, and we knew that we had a significant fire."  

One firefighter was hurt during the firefight, OCFA Assistant Fire Chief TJ McGovern said in a news conference Thursday. 

"That firefighter was on the line, that firefighter was assessed and taken to a local hospital pending further evaluation," McGovern said. 

In the Coronado Pointe neighborhood, multiple homes burned in the 30300 block of La Vue, near the Aliso Summit Trail. Powerful coastal winds pushed embers through the area, with the blaze jumping from home to home. While one home may have been spared, another next to it may have been destroyed, depending on how the embers flew. 

"It's so random, because just behind us, our friends' home is safe, but on either side it's destroyed," Coronado Pinte homeowner Andreas Frank told CBSLA Thursday. 

"Several of the houses on these streets were involved in fire," OCFA Capt. Jeff Christiansen said. "Last night we were just watching for hot spots, making sure it didn't go to any other houses. We showed up after it already burned down. So we've just been making sure it didn't start up again and extend to the houses on either side."  

The flames advanced Wednesday even as fixed-wing planes dropped fire retardant on the hillside, and helicopters dropped water on the flames. Crews from firefighting agencies across the region, including CAL Fire, have been brought in to assist in the fight. In total, about 550 personnel were battling the fire on the ground and in the air. 

The cause is still under investigation. However, in a publicly released report Wednesday night, Southern California Edison disclosed that there was "circuit activity occurring close in time to the reported time of the fire."

Public utility companies are required to notify the state if their equipment was possibly involved in any wildfire incidents. 

Students taking part in after-school activities at Laguna Beach High School were also evacuated Wednesday. However, Laguna Beach Unified reported that schools and offices were expected to be open and operating normally Thursday. 

Meanwhile, students from Moulton Elementary School in Laguna Niguel were moved to Wood Canyon Elementary Thursday out of an abundance of caution, the Capistrano Unified School District said. 

A temporary shelter was open at Crown Valley Community Center at 29751 Crown Valley Pkwy. Residents who need help or have questions can call the emergency operations hotline at 714-628-7085.

 

OC Fire officials provide update on Wednesday's Coastal Fire

On Thursday afternoon, officials with the Orange County Fire Authority held a press conference to update the public with the latest information. 

As of Thursday, the fire remained at 200 acres burned, with 15% containment. A total of 20 homes were completely destroyed by the blaze and 11 were damaged. Officials said that 550 firefighters were deployed to the scene, with two firefighters suffering injury. Both of have since been released from the hospital. 

Firefighters also said that 900 people were evacuated and that evacuation orders issued last night remain in effect. 

OC Fire officials provide update on Wednesday's Coastal Fire 07:53
By Josh DuBose
 

Residents assess the destruction from Coastal Fire

In the Coronado Pointe neighborhood, multiple homes burned in the 30300 block of La Vue, near the Aliso Summit Trail. Powerful coastal winds pushed embers through the area, with the blaze jumping from home to home. While one home may have been spared, another next to it may have been destroyed, depending on how the embers flew. 

"It's so random, because just behind us, our friends' home is safe, but on either side it's destroyed," Coronado Pinte homeowner Andreas Frank told CBSLA Thursday. 

Laguna Niguel brush fire destroys at least 20 homes 03:55
By CBSLA Staff
 

Evacuations remain in place for Coronado Pointe, Pacific Island Drive

Mandatory evacuations remain in place in the areas of Coronado Pointe and Pacific Island Drive, officials said at a news conference Thursday morning. 

"We will repopulate when it is safe to do so, and allows fire personnel to prevent the fire from spreading any further," Orange County Sheriff's Department Capt. Virgil Asuncion said. 

New mandatory evacuations were also ordered Thursday for neighborhoods accessed from Niguel Road, west of Highland Avenue. 

About 900 homes remain under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders. 

By CBSLA Staff
 

One firefighter injured while battling Coastal Fire

A firefighter suffered an injury while battling the Coastal Fire Wednesday.

According to TJ McGovern, Orange County Fire Authority's assistant chief of field operations, the firefighter was on the line when he was injured. McGovern did not give details on how the firefighter was injured, but confirmed the firefighter was assessed and taken to a hospital pending further evaluation.

The firefighter who was injured was not identified.

snapshot-33.jpg
(credit: CBS)
By Darleene Powells
 

FEMA approves federal funds to battle Coastal Fire

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the use of federal funds to assist in the fight against the Coastal Fire which has destroyed at least 20 homes in Laguna Niguel.

A Fire Management Assistance Grant will provide funding for up to 75% of firefighting costs. 

By CBSLA Staff
 

Coastal fire burns nearly 200 acres

The Orange County Fire Authority reports that the Coastal Fire is now 199 acres with zero containment. 

A news conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. 

Homes destroyed as Laguna Niguel brush fire rips through Orange County coastal community
Laguna Niguel, CA - May 11: A home burns on Coronado Pointe during the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel, CA, on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. More than a dozen homes overlooking the ocean in Laguna Niguel were engulfed in flames as a fast-moving brush fire is spreading rapidly amid strong winds. Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
By CBSLA Staff
 

Coastal Fire devastates Laguna Niguel neighborhood

The Coastal Fire has destroyed at least 20 homes, with most of the destruction believed to be in the Laguna Niguel neighborhood of Coronado Pointe. 

On La Vue street in Coronado Pointe, some homes were destroyed, but others were spared, depending on how the embers flew. 

"Several of the houses on these streets were involved in fire," Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Jeff Christiansen said. "Last night we were just watching for hot spots, making sure it didn't go to any other houses. We showed up after it already burned down. So we've just been making sure it didn't start up again and extend to the houses on either side."

Laguna Niguel neighborhood devastated by Coastal Fire 03:36
By CBSLA Staff
 

Coastal Fire prompts smoke advisory

A smoke advisory has been issued as a result of the Coastal Fire burning in Orange County's Laguna Niguel community. 

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued the advisory through Thursday afternoon. Those who smell smoke or see ash should limit their time outdoors and keep their doors and windows closed. 

By CBSLA Staff
 

Schools in Laguna Beach Unified open Thursday

The Laguna Beach Unified School District reported Wednesday night that schools and offices will be open and operating as normal Thursday. 

However, students at Moulton Elementary School in Laguna Niguel will instead be attending school at Wood Canyon Elementary on Thursday out of an abundance of caution. Moulton Elementary is in the Capistrano Unified School District.

By CBSLA Staff
 

Local power company, SoCal Edison, releases statement about Coastal Fire

In a publically released report, local power company Edison noted that their information "reflects circuit activity occurring close in time to the reported time of the fire."

Edison Spokesperson David Eisenhauer released a statement saying: 

Our thoughts are with the community members whose homes have been damaged and those who have been evacuated because of the Coastal Fire and we are coordinating with fire agencies as needed to ensure firefighter safety. 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. 

By Danielle Radin
 

Fire estimated to be at 195 acres

As of 11 p.m. Wednesday, the fire was estimated to be at 195 acres and zero percent containment. There have been no reports of injuries to humans or pets. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

By Danielle Radin
 

Firefighters trying to control flames of Coastal Fire

Firefighters are trying to make sure that the fire from one house doesn't jump and destroy the house next to it. 

By Danielle Radin
 

Crews battle aggressive house fire on Vista Montemar

On Vista Montemar in Laguna Niguel, fire crews have been battling an aggressive house fire for over an hour, and have made little headway. Reporting from the scene, Lesley Marin said crews might have to back off the fire. 

Fire crews battling home blaze on Vista Montemar, in Laguna Niguel for over an hour 00:40
By Josh DuBose
 

Mansion listed for $10M destroyed

A 10,000 square foot mansion that was destroyed in the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel had been listed at around $10 million. 

Home burning in Coastal Fire listed for sale at around $10 million 00:46
By Josh DuBose
 

Coastal Fire affecting air quality

The Coastal Fire burning in Laguna Niguel is affecting air quality in the Orange County area. Smoke advisories have been issued through Thursday afternoon for the South Coast AQMD jurisdiction.

By Madeline Spear
 

Fire crews working to prevent embers from sparking nearby homes

On La Vue Street, behind Coronado Pointe in Laguna Niguel, where an estimated 20 plus homes have burned, fire crews are working to keep burning embers from sparking fires in additional homes. 

A Captain with the Orange County Fire Authority told CBSLA that the challenge is all the void spaces on homes in the area, saying that the tile roofs throughout the neighborhood easily catch embers, which can then develop into a full fledged fire. 

Firefighters working to prevent embers spreading to other neighborhoods 01:49
By Josh DuBose
 

Fire Chief says no reports of injury

SKY9's Desmond Shaw reports from over the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel where more than 180 acres have burned and an estimated 20 plus homes have also caught fire. Chief Brian Fennessy, in an earlier press conference, said that officials ran a very organized evacuation process that there has so far been no reported injuries. 

OC Fire official says there are no reports of injury 00:53
By Josh DuBose
 

Evacuation center at Crown Valley Community Center

So far there are 25 adults two children and five pets at the evacuation center. Red Cross and Animal Services are on-site to assist evacuees.

By Madeline Spear
 

Officials provide updates on Coastal Fire damage

Orange County Fire Authority says the Coastal Fire has burned about 200 acres and approximately 20 homes.

By Madeline Spear
 

Fire Chief warns more wildfires like this on the way

"Unfortunately I think this is what we're going to be experiencing over the next several weeks and years," said Chief Brian Fennessy of the Orange County Fire Authority during a press conference Wednesday night. "The vegetation is so dry it is not taking much for the fire to take off running and burn very quickly." 

OC Fire Authority official says climate change partly to blame 00:51
By Danielle Radin
 

High winds sending burning embers into additional homes

SKY9's Desmond Shaw reports that homes, even ones that earlier appeared safe, are catching on fire as high winds pick up burning embers. 

Homes continuing to catch on fire 00:42
By Josh DuBose
 

OC Fire officials will hold 7:30 press conference

Officials plan to hold a live press conference and provide an update on the Coastal Fire burning in Laguna Niguel. Viewers can tune in on KCAL9 or at CBSLA.com

845ab5f573a2ee8bbf5f242beca621fd.jpg
By Josh DuBose
 

LAFD assists with Orange County Coastal Fire

The Los Angeles Fire Department has deployed their LAFD Strike Team 1001, consisting of five engines and a battalion chief, to help battle the Coastal Fire in Orange County. 

By Danielle Radin
 

Costal Fire estimated to be 183 acres

Fire crews continue to battle what authorities have dubbed the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel. More than a dozen homes have burned, including multimillion-dollar mansions and the fire has grown to an estimated 183 acres. 

Firefighters continue battling Coastal Fire, at an estimated 200 acres 01:06
By Josh DuBose
 

Firefighters rescue a resident's cat

Firefighters were able to rescue a Laguna Niguel resident's cat, Nivens, from her home. The resident said the cat may have been hiding under her bed. 

Firefighters rescue cat from burning home 00:58
By Josh DuBose
 

Cat rescued by firefighters

The owner of the cat, named Nivens, was thankful her pet was ok as the Coastal Fire continued to tear through homes on Coronado Pointe. 

By Danielle Radin
 

Ammunition heard exploding in a burning house

Michele Gile reports from Laguna Niguel where firefighters said that the sounds of explosions coming from home engulfed in flames are likely ammunition that was kept in the home. 

Firefighters say explosions among houses are ammunition 00:24
By Josh DuBose
 

Flames in the Coastal Fire moving eastward

Reporting from the scene in Laguna Niguel, CBSLA's Michele Gile spoke to firefighters on the scene who say flames are moving eastward and will likely catch homes on the opposite side of the street on fire as well.

Firefighters say flames are moving eastward 00:41
By Josh DuBose
 

Laguna Niguel Regional Park closed

Laguna Niguel Regional Park is closed due to the nearby Coastal Fire.

By Madeline Spear
 

More than 13 structures destroyed

Firefighters said more than 13 structures have been destroyed in the fire. 

As of 5:42 p.m., the fire is at 150 acres and zero percent contained. 

By Danielle Radin
 

Row of homes on fire in Laguna Niguel

As fire starts to gut a mansion in Laguna Niguel, a row of houses can be seen burning. SKY2's Desmond Shaw reports that it's this row of houses on fire that are overwhelming fire crews. 

Row of homes on fire in Laguna Niguel Coast Fire 00:37
By Josh DuBose
 

Temporary shelter open for those evacuated in Coastal Fire

A temporary shelter is open at Crown Valley Community Center at 29751 Crown Valley Pkwy. For questions, please call 949-362-4300. For questions, please call City Hall at (949) 362-4300 or the County Hotline Number at (714) 628-7085.

By Madeline Spear
 

Large air tankers deployed to fight Coastal Fire

From SKY2, a large firefighting airtanker is seen over the Coastal Fire where several homes are on fire. 

Flames spreading through Coronado Pointe neighborhood 00:34
By Josh DuBose
 

Laguna Niguel home engulfed in flames

One home in Laguna Niguel was seen from SKY2 completely engulfed in flames while at least five other homes caught fire.  

1 home is fully engulfed in flames while at least 5 others burn 00:46
By Josh DuBose
 

Several more homes have caught flames in Laguna Niguel

At least four homes were seen burning as crews worked to extinguish the Coastal Fire burning in Laguna Niguel.

4 homes catch fire in Coastal Fire burning in Laguna Niguel 00:47
By Josh DuBose
 

Homes in Laguna Niguel can be seen burning

At least one home can be seen burning in what officials are calling the Coastal Fire. 

Home catches fire as flames tear through brush in Laguna Niguel 00:41
By Josh DuBose
 

Winds blowing smoke in direction of homes

Winds blowing smoke toward homes in Laguna Niguel 00:46
By Josh DuBose
 

Laguna Niguel officials issue evacuation orders

Officials said that residents near Pacific Island Drive and Coronado Pointe need to evacuate due to the fast moving brush fire. 

The direction of the wind is carrying smoke toward and into the city. 

Fire burning near homes in Laguna Hills is being driven by winds 01:45
By Josh DuBose
 

People seen dangerously close to flames in Laguna Hills

A fire in Laguna Hills threatens a multi-million dollar home 01:11
By Josh DuBose
 

Voluntary evacuations for Balboa Nyes neighborhood

The Laguna Beach Police Department has issued voluntary evacuation orders for the Balboa Nyes neighborhood due to the fire. 

Flames can be seen from Sky9 threatening homes. 

A fire in Laguna Hills threatens a multi-million dollar home 01:11
By Josh DuBose
 

Happening Now: Water dropping planes on the scene

Fire crews battling brush fire in Laguna Hills 06:38
By Josh DuBose
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.