California wildfire engulfs several homes in luxury town, evacuation underway

A wildfire broke out in Orange County, Southern California, on Wednesday.

A wildfire that broke out in Southern California’s Orange County on Wednesday set fire to at least 20 luxury homes, prompting a mass evacuation in the Laguna Beach area. The local government has also declared a state of emergency to help fight the growing fire.

According to fire officials, several multi-million dollar mansions have been engulfed in the rapidly progressing wildfire, which was first reported around 2:45 p.m.

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The flames were fanned by gusty ocean winds near Laguna Beach. The fire started near a water treatment plant and engulfed nearly acres by evening.

It also swept through the hills and private enclave, destroying hiking trails.

Videos posted to social media showed crews fighting the fire from above with aircraft, dropping fire retardants and water onto the smoke-clogged area, the New York Post reported. Officials are visiting every home in the area and are urging residents to evacuate, the Post said.

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The Orange County Fire Officials (OCFO) on Twitter shared an evacuation order stating: “At this time, the area north of the intersection of Flying Cloud Dr and Pacific Island Dr to the intersection of Highlands Ave and Pacific Island Dr is under Mandatory Evacuation Order .”

According to the recent updates, the OCFO is currently assembling damage assessment teams to inspect the damage from the flames.

According to fire officials, the fast-moving fire was caused by climate change. “We’re seeing spread in ways we’ve never seen before,” Brian Fennessy, fire chief for the Orange County Fire Authority, told the Post.

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The hilltop town of about 65,000 residents is located about 50 miles south of Los Angeles. As California suffers a terrible drought, dry scrub covers the surrounding hills and valleys.

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