At least 20 homes in the coastal neighborhood of Laguna Niguel are in ruins and hundreds of residents have been forced to evacuate.
The fast-moving wildfire, named the Coastal Fire, was first reported by the Orange County Fire Authority at around 2:44 p.m. on the St. Tropez and Laguna Ridge Trail, southeast of Laguna Beach, fire officials announced in a press conference Thursday.
The flames spread quickly through thick brush as ocean winds fueled the blaze, powering it up to the ridge where the estates sat.
Jon Baird, a KNX 97.1 FM reporter on the scene, told KCBS Radio, "I just walked up the street here a minute ago and there was a firefighter knocking down some flames on the edge of a home, but it was pretty much untouched, and 50 feet to the left was a $10 million home that was completely destroyed. They're still trying to save homes in this neighborhood."
According to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, at least 900 homes are under strict evacuation order. A map on the department's website outlines the areas under mandatory evacuation, evacuation warning and where evacuations have been lifted.
Crews worked aggressively through the night to try and contain the blaze, which has reached 200 acres. There are currently 550 firefighters at the scene. TJ McGovern, Assistant Chief of OCFA Field Operations, said the level of containment is currently unknown, but CAL FIRE reported it is currently 0%.
One firefighter on the frontline was injured Wednesday and has since been taken to a local hospital. It was not immediately clear how severe the firefighter's injuries were.
A second press conference will be held at around 5 p.m., live streamed through the Orange County Fire Authority's Facebook page, to provide further updates.