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Evacuations lifted as Laguna Beach fire torches 150 acres amid heat warning – latest

Huge brush fire ignites in Laguna Beach amid strong Santa Ana winds

Firefighters are continuing to battle a wildfire near Laguna Beach, California.

The so-called Emerald Fire was reported just after 4am on Thursday in the gated community of Emerald Bay, prompting hundreds to evacuate.

The fire has since spread across 150 acres, fueled by the fierce and dry Santa Ana winds. Southern California is also experiencing record high temperatures for the time of year.

Officials say the blaze is about 10 per cent contained, and evacuation orders have been lifted.

State and county parks in the area remain closed for the time being.


Evacuation orders lifted as firefighters continue to battle Emerald Fire

All evacuation orders in regards to the Emerald Fire have been lifted, according to the Orange County Sheriff Department’s natural disaster dashboard.

County and state parks in the area remain closed, however.

Firefighters said a combination favourable winds and large amounts of “defensible space”—areas cleared of heavy vegetation that make it easier for emergency crews to battle fires—contributed to a relatively uneventful impact on surrounding communities.

Josh Marcus11 February 2022 00:50


Emerald Fire, and containment, grows as flames continue

The Emerald Fire is officially 10 per cent contained, up from 5 per cent earlier in the day, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

The overall size of the blaze, however, has also grown, from 145 to 150 acres.

Roughly 315 firefighters, 10 strike teams, four hand crews, and five helicopters are involved in the containment effort.

Josh Marcus11 February 2022 00:25


What is the Biden administration doing about West Coast wildfires?

Wildfires have been ravaging the West Coast, and it will only get worse as the climate crisis continues.

Here’s how The Independent has covered the Biden administration’s response to this ongoing disaster:

Josh Marcus11 February 2022 00:00


Firefighters encouraged by lessening winds

Hot weather and strong winds helped spread the Emerald Fire during the early morning on Thursday, but winds have died down as the day has continued, according to officials.

This has allowed firefighters to halt the momentum of the blaze towards the many multi-million dollar homes that ring the hills above Laguna Beach, California, though they warn conditions could change.

Josh Marcus10 February 2022 23:40


Emerald Fire follows extremely dry start to year in California

February is usually California’s wettest month, but so far, things have been extremely dry in the Golden State to start the year.

January 2022 was the driest January in the US in 8 years, according to NOAA, and no significant rain has fallen on Orange County in particular since last year, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Samantha Connolly.

“We just don’t have that right now. We don’t even have a marine layer,” she told The Los Angeles Times. “Everything is just really dry.”

Josh Marcus10 February 2022 23:20


Emerald Fire is latest along California’s scenic coast

The Emerald Fire isn’t the only blaze to strike California’s scenic coastal towns this year.

In January, portions of Big Sur, California, along the iconic Highway 1, caught fire.

Josh Marcus10 February 2022 23:00


At least eight agencies battling blaze

Efforts to bring the Emerald Fire to its knees have been coordinated by multiple law enforcement agencies from Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Fullerton, Orange City, Caltrans and CalFire.

The crews are utilising an array of equipment in the fight, including:

  • 75 fire engines
  • 8 water-dropping helicopters
  • 5 hand crews
  • 4 CalFire tankers
  • 2 bulldozers

Megan Sheets10 February 2022 22:45


A series of dramatic photographs show the Emerald Fire tearing across the drought-stricken hills of Laguna Beach, California.

The blaze erupted just after 4am on Thursday morning in Orange County’s Emerald Bay neighbourhood.

Within a few hours it had torn across more than 145 acres, fuelled by fierce Santa Ana winds and unseasonably high temperatures across the state.

The Independent’s Megan Sheets reports:

Josh Marcus10 February 2022 22:20


State beach converted to fire command center

The Crystal Cove state beach was shut to the public on Thursday so officials could use it as a command centre in the fight against the Emerald Fire.

Several helicopters carrying water and flame-retardant materials have regularly been taking off from the sand on route to the burning hills.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Josh Marcus10 February 2022 22:00


PHOTOS: Striking images capture Emerald Fire above Laguna Beach

Photos are spreading across social media featuring striking images from Thursday’s Emerald Fire in the hills above Laguna Beach, California.

In one image, a cloud of smoke is lit up orange outside a man’s living room in the early morning.

In another, firefighters look on from a backyard as flames fill the sky above them.

Josh Marcus10 February 2022 21:40

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