Evacuations as Laguna Beach fire torches 145 acres amid heat warning – latest

Evacuations as Laguna Beach fire torches 145 acres amid heat warning - latest
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Huge brush fire ignites in Laguna Beach amid strong Santa Ana winds

A wildfire has prompted widespread evacuations in Laguna Beach, California, with hundreds of residents told to leave their homes.

The fire was reported just after 4am on Thursday in the gated community of Emerald Bay.

People living in that neighbourhood, as well as nearby Irvine Cove, were placed under mandatory evacuation. An evacuation warning was also issued for the area of North Laguna.

“Homes are currently threatened with the possibility of more structures threatened if the fire spreads,” the City of Laguna Beach said in a statement.

The fire has since spread across 145 acres, fueled by the fierce and dry Santa Ana winds. Southern California is also experiencing record high temperatures for the time of year.

The cause of the blaze has not been determined.

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Smoke pours over Pacific Ocean

Smoke rising from the Emerald Fire has already begun to drift out across the Pacific Ocean, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An animation posted by to agency on Twitter shows the smoke’s reach as of 1pm local time:

Megan Sheets10 February 2022 21:15
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Videos of the Emerald Fire pour in

Local law enforcement in Orange County, California shared this video of the Emerald Fire burning in the hills above Laguna Beach in the early hours of Thursday.

Louise Boyle10 February 2022 20:32
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Two dozen fires reported in last week across US

Before the Emerald Fire erupted on Thursday in California, the latest data from the National Interagency Fire Center reported 24 new large blazes in the US.

Wildland firefighters continue to work toward containment goals on 12 large fires, the agency said in a report on 4th February.

The other 14 large fires in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas were contained.

Louise Boyle10 February 2022 20:00
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Pacific Coast Highway reopens

The Pacific Coast Highway is now open to traffic in both directions, the Orange County Fire Authority reported, shortly before midday local time.

The highway had been closed between Broadway in Laguna Beach and Newport Coast Drive in Newport Beach after the Emerald Fire broke out in Laguna Beach communities in the early hours of Thursday.

Louise Boyle10 February 2022 19:34
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Pacific Coast Highway reopens

The Pacific Coast Highway is now open to traffic in both directions, the Orange County Fire Authority reported, shortly before midday local time.

The highway had been closed between Broadway in Laguna Beach and Newport Coast Drive in Newport Beach after the Emerald Fire broke out in Laguna Beach communities in the early hours of Thursday.

Louise Boyle10 February 2022 19:34
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Fire crews attack blaze from the sky

A firefighting plane, from state fire agency Cal Fire, tackles the Emerald Fire in Laguna Beach on Thursday.

The aircraft was pictured dropping waves of bright pink retardant onto the blaze. The substance doesn’t extinguish flames but is intended to buy time for crews on the ground.

Fire crews kept flames from damaging homes and officials were optimistic by late morning that the blaze could be stopped thanks to their efforts.

<p>Firefighting aircraft were deployed over the blaze in Laguna Beach, California</p>

Firefighting aircraft were deployed over the blaze in Laguna Beach, California

Louise Boyle10 February 2022 19:22
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Pictured: The evacuation zones

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department shared details on mandatory evacuation zones and those currently under warning.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for: Emerald Bay north of Pacific Coast Highway; Irvine Cove area of Laguna Beach; and North Coast area of Laguna Beach.

A warning was issued for the Boat Canyon area of Laguna Beach.

Community centers were open for residents who needed a place to go: Los Olivos Community Center at 101 Alfonso in Irvine; and Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center at 380 3rd St. in Laguna Beach.

The Pacific Coast Highway is closed between Broadway in Laguna Beach and Newport Coast Drive in Newport Beach.

<p>The mandatory evacuation zones following the Emerald Fire on 10th February, 2022</p>

The mandatory evacuation zones following the Emerald Fire on 10th February, 2022

Louise Boyle10 February 2022 18:49
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No word on when evacuation orders will be lifted

Residents who fled their homes early Thursday morning have yet to receive word of when evacuation orders will be lifted in Emerald Bay and Irvine Cove.

Laguna Beach Fire Department Chief Mike Garcia indicated that the threat remains serious at a mid-morning briefing.

“When you look around here, you couldn’t even tell there’s a fire going on,” he said. “And we’re very close. There’s an active fire going on, it’s going the other way, you don’t see it. So it’s easy for everybody to think, ‘Hey, it’s OK, we need to get back into our house. It should be OK.’

“We’re telling you it’s not. This is subject to wind, to wind changes. And we’re monitoring that very close. This is a large team effort, and we’re taking safety very seriously.”

Police reportedly canvassed neighbourhoods blaring a “mandatory evacuation” message through loudspeakers as the fire grew.

As of 10am local time there have been no reports of any injuries or damage to homes.

Megan Sheets10 February 2022 18:30
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Fire 5% contained after five hours

Officials said the Emerald Fire was five per cent contained as of 9.30am local time, roughly five hours after the first report of flames came in.

Over that period, the blaze spread roughly 145 acres as firefighters worked diligently to keep it away from homes in the area.

“The fire spread is to the north, but the fire is not spreading rapidly at this time,” Orange County fire chief Brian Fennessy told reporters.

Megan Sheets10 February 2022 18:11
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Arson investigators are on scene but too early to know cause of wildfire, says fire chief

Brian Fennessy, chief of the Orange County Fire Authority, refused to speculate on the cause of fire at a second media briefing on Thursday morning.

He said it was too soon to know what sparked the Emerald Fire in Laguna Beach, which has grown to 145 acres.

The chief said that arson investigators were on the scene.

Louise Boyle10 February 2022 17:51

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