Watch: Orange County Fire Carried by Dry Winds Begins to Engulf Homes

At least a dozen houses in a wealthy community near the Southern California coastline have gone up in flames after a brush fire grew out of control amid strong winds.

Videos shared to social media on Wednesday appeared to show several residential homes in the city of Laguna Niguel alight after becoming engulfed in a fast-moving inferno that has been dubbed the "Coastal Fire." The Orange County Fire Authority said that the blaze broke out mid-afternoon near a water treatment plant located between Laguna Niguel and the coastal community of Laguna Beach, according to KABC.

Video filmed in the area Wednesday afternoon showed white and gray smoke billowing out of several homes. A state of emergency was declared in Laguna Niguel, located just east of Laguna Beach and about 50 miles south of Los Angeles, with a population of around 65,000.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office issued mandatory evacuation orders for the following locations in Laguna Niguel's Pacific Island area: Coronado Pointe Drive, Vista Court and Via Las Rosa.

An emergency shelter was established for evacuees at Laguna Niguel's Crown Valley Community Center. Mayor Elaine Gennawey said that 25 adults, two children and five pets had arrived at the center within hours of the fire breaking out.

The fire consumed at least 12 homes and affected around 200 acres of land, according to Reuters. Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy told KABC that the homes that had been touched by the fire were likely destroyed beyond repair.

"It's all about defending the homes that have not already burned," Fennessy told the station from the scene of the fire. "The firefighters behind me are really putting on an aggressive fight."

During an update at around 7:30 p.m. local time, Fennessy said that he expected a "minimum" of around 20 homes had been destroyed or damaged, while expressing reluctance to provide an exact number.

Voluntary evacuation warnings were issued for residents of the Balboa Nyes (Portafina) neighborhood in Laguna Beach. In a video shared to Twitter by the City of Laguna Beach just before 7 p.m. local time, Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia said that the wind-driven fire had moved eastward, toward Laguna Niguel, and posed little threat to Laguna Beach.

California Fire Videos Laguna Niguel Houses Evacuations
At least a dozen houses were destroyed as a fast-moving fire burned near the community of Laguna Niguel, California, on Wednesday evening. A fire is pictured approaching a neighborhood as vehicles and residents wait nearby in this undated and unrelated file photo. gschroer/Getty

"It's become a pretty big fire, during several homes in the city of Laguna Niguel," Garcia said. "I want to tell our community that the city of Laguna Beach is safe. We don't expect any changes, but we want all of our residents to remain vigilant."

Officials say there have so far been no injuries reported.

Newsweek reached out to the Orange County Fire Authority for comment.