Parts of Laguna Beach Evacuate From Wildfire Fueled by Santa Ana Winds

A wildfire has prompted evacuations of some parts of California's Laguna Beach early Thursday morning.

Residents in the Irvine Cove and Emerald Bay areas of the city were ordered to evacuate due to the wildfire that has reportedly burned about 7 acres. Although details on how the fire was started were not available, the strong Santa Ana winds are being pegged as a contributing factor to the spread.

"Homes are currently threatened with the possibility of more structures threatened if the fire spreads," said the City of Laguna Beach in an official statement. It also urged all affected residents to head south in order to avoid the blaze.

Local news station KABC reported that the City of Irvine has established an evacuation center for those affected.

According to the Orange County Fire Authority, calls of the fire began pouring in at around 4:00 a.m. PST Thursday. The Orange County Register reported that two helicopters have already begun conducting water drops onto the blaze to prevent it from spreading.

These attempts at curbing the spread might be working. According to the Orange County Fire Chief Brian Fennessy, the spread has already begun decreasing with no structures currently damaged.

"It is looking very good," Fennessy told reporters. "The spread has slowed."

In addition to the two helicopters, more than 25 fire truck engines, eight strike teams from surrounding areas, and six air tankers have been ordered to stop the wildfire's spread. Fennessy told reporters that these resources are critical.

"​​I'm satisfied with the number of resources we have at scene and en route and I'm feeling confident we've got a pretty good handle on this fire," he continued. "As long as the weather cooperates and resources continue to come in."

Due to current climate conditions and erratic weather patterns, Fennessy said that everyone in the Laguna Beach area should begin evacuating as soon as possible when similar fires break out in the future.

"We no longer have a fire season, we have a fire year," he said. "Even though the hillsides are green, it doesn't take anything but low humidity and wind for fires to occur."

All schools in the Laguna Beach Unified School District have been closed for the day out of precaution. In an Instagram post, the school district urged everyone to stay safe.

"The safety of our students is the number one priority in LBUSD, and we will provide updates as we gain further information [on the fire]," wrote the district. "Please stay safe."

Newsweek has reached out to the Laguna Beach Police Department for comment. The Laguna Beach Fire Department was unable to be reached.

Update 02/10/2022 at 10:54 a.m. EST: This story has been updated with new information.

Two firefighters
Stock image showing two firefighters battling a blaze. A wildfire has resulted in evacuation orders for parts of Laguna Beach. iStock