Southern California wildfire burns 200 acres, damaging Orange County homes

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A fast-spreading wildfire broke out in the southern California city of Laguna Niguel Wednesday afternoon, affecting nearly 200 acres, damaging many homes and forcing evacuations, local authorities said.

No injuries or deaths were reported as of Wednesday evening, Orange County Fire Chief Brian Venety told reporters at a news conference. He said the coastal fire destroyed or damaged more than 20 buildings. He added that the firefighters were “dealing better” with the blaze and were expected to make progress overnight. “It’s sad to say we kind of got used to this,” he said.

Laguna Niguel is an affluent coastal city about 50 miles from Los Angeles. Some of the threatened and damaged homes in the Qasour area were worth millions of dollars.

The fire reflects a trend toward a higher level of wildfire activity in California, according to official statistics. out of place The 20 biggest wildfires in CaliforniaIn terms of the number of acres affected, nine of them occurred in 2020 and 2021. Three of the five The most dangerous forest fires It has erupted since 2017.

The country is in its third year of severe drought. Major reservoirs are depleted, while the Colorado River, an important source of water in southern California, is experiencing a massive drought due to climate change that is the worst in 1,200 years, Washington Post, DC Weather Ring mentioned.

California braces for extreme summer drought after dismal rainy season

Venesi said recent droughts have facilitated the spread of wildfires more rapidly than in the past. “The humidity is so low that these fires are going out and rushing,” he said. He noted that recent fires do not necessarily burn thousands of acres, but the faster pace of fires increases the risk to buildings and people.

Veneti said the Laguna Niguel fire was caused by a combination of strong winds, dry vegetation and the steep slope of the area where the fire was first discovered.

First responders reported a massive fire around 3 p.m. local time. Citizens near Coronado Pointe Drive, Vista Court and Via Las Rosa were placed under mandatory evacuation orders, which were later expanded to cover other areas north of the intersection of Pacific Island Drive and Flying Cloud Drive. Laguna Mayor Nigel Eileen Gnawi told reporters that an evacuation center has been set up, where 25 adults, two children and five pets have taken refuge.

The fire did not pose any direct threat to the neighboring city of Laguna Beach, officials say She said. Residents of Balboa Ness neighborhood have been temporarily put underground voluntary evacuation ordersbefore being lifted later in the evening.