Winter heat wave causes a fire in Laguna Beach

Early Thursday morning, a brush fire broke out, and many residents evacuated Emerald Bay and Irvine Cove.


A helicopter rushes to help contain the fire by dropping water. (Photo by Orange County Register)

An unexpected brush fire covered up to 150 acres of the Emerald Bay and Irvine Cove communities. At 4 a.m. Thursday morning, near Emerald Bay, the fire sent around 375 firefighters to battle the flames. Officials state the brush fire started due to high temperatures in the 80s, strong winds, dry air, and heatwaves.

Laguna Beach did not experience a brush fire once but twice, dating back to 1993. However, the most recent fire had not been as severe compared to the recurrence in 1993. The wildfire destroyed over 400 homes and spread across 14,000 acres with approximately $528 million in damage.

Compared to 1993, the recent fire did not spread dramatically but was closer to the homes. Firefighters and helicopters stopped the fire before it spread even more, so there were no reported injuries or damages to buildings.

Pacific Coast Highway and schools near the area shut down for safety measures. Even residents living in Emerald Bay and Irvine Cove had to evacuate their homes. Later Thursday afternoon, evacuation orders were lifted for residents in the fire zone. The City of Laguna Beach still encourages residents to stay vigilant and be aware of their surroundings.

Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brain Fennessey comments it is unusual for Southern California to witness brush fires since it is still the winter season and only February.