Multiple homes burn in Coastal Fire at Laguna Niguel, Southern California

Updated at 1:57 p.m. PDT May 12, 2022

At  briefing Thursday morning at 8:30 fire officials said one firefighter working on the Coastal Fire in Orange County, California was injured and transported to a hospital. The evacuation orders are still in place, affecting about 900 homes. The Orange County Sheriff’s office has current information about evacuations.

The estimate of homes destroyed is still at least 20, said Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy. The fire has burned 199 acres.

Coastal Fire map
The white areas represent heat on the Coastal Fire detected by FIRIS, 6:24 a.m. May 12, 2022.

10 News reported that Southern California Edison sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission regarding “circuit activity occurring close in time to the reported time” of the fire, according to the company’s spokesperson David Song.

“We submitted an initial Electric Safety Incident Report to the California Public Utilities Commission,” Mr. Song said. “SCE is required to submit an ESIR to the CPUC on certain types of incidents. … Our information reflects circuit activity occurring close in time to the reported time of the fire. …The submission of this report to the CPUC is intended to put them on notice of an incident so that it can conduct its own investigation.”

Coastal Fire, Orange County, CA
Coastal Fire, Orange County, CA, May 11, 2022. ABC7.

Updated at 4:50 a.m. PDT May 12, 2022

Map Coastal Fire, 9:57 p.m. May 11, 2022
Map of the Coastal Fire, 9:57 p.m. May 11, 2022. FIRIS.

Below is a thermal image of the Coastal Fire at 11:13 p.m. May 11. The white areas represent heat.

Thermal image of Coastal Fire
Thermal image of Coastal Fire, 11:13 p.m. May 11, 2022. FIRIS.

8:15 p.m. PDT, May 11, 2022

Map Coastal Fire
Path of the Coastal Fire

A brush fire in the Laguna Niguel community of Orange County in Southern California spread into homes Wednesday. It was named “Coastal Fire.”

Brian Fennessy, Chief of the Orange County Fire Authority, said at 7:54 p.m. that the fire had burned about 200 acres and he was aware of approximately 20 homes that were destroyed or damaged. The Chief said some of the homes appeared to have been ignited not by direct flame impingement, but from the ember shower, possibly passing through unscreened attic vents.

Coastal Fire
Image from ABC7 showing the Coastal Fire at 6:10 p.m. May 11, 2022. Looking north.

The fire started at about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday approximately a mile east of the coast, west of Aliso Creek, and was pushed by a moderately strong wind out of the west. It burned downhill to the creek, crossed it near a water treatment plant and ran uphill another half mile to rows of large, densely packed homes. By 6:20 p.m. the fire had crossed Pacific Island Drive near Clubhouse Drive.

There was a firebreak below the first structures that were in the path of the fire. It appeared to have prevented flames from the burning brush from directly impacting the homes, but the ember shower and then house to house spread did much of the damage in the community. As homes burned, radiant heat may have ignited the nearby neighboring structures. More embers were generated as each house went up in flames.

Continue reading “Multiple homes burn in Coastal Fire at Laguna Niguel, Southern California”