Officials lift most evacuation orders in Laguna Niguel after 200-acre brush fire destroys 20 homes

According to the city, a total of 131 homes are now in the mandatory evacuation zone compared to 900 reported earlier.
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (KABC) -- Evacuation orders for those living in a Laguna Niguel neighborhood that was burned by a 200-acre fire were significantly reduced Friday afternoon.

According to an update issued by the city, a total of 131 homes are now in the mandatory evacuation zone compared to the 900 that were reported earlier.

Firefighters continue to douse hotspots and extend the containment line.

The blaze, called the Coastal Fire, broke out Wednesday afternoon between Laguna Niguel and Laguna Beach, destroying at least 20 multi-million dollar homes and damaging 11 others.

Containment of the fire increased to 25% by Friday morning.

The only residents that remain under evacuation orders are those who live on Coronado Pointe, Vista Court, La Vue, La Fleur, Le Port and Via La Rosas, according to the city.

For the complete evacuation map, click here.

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Twenty homes were destroyed and 11 were damaged by a brush fire in Laguna Niguel that spread rapidly amid strong winds, and crews continued to fight the flames Thursday.

The area south of Flying Cloud Drive and Pacific Island Drive to the intersection of Pacific Island Drive and Crown Valley Parkway is under a voluntary evacuation warning.

Fire officials said residents would be allowed to return to their homes once it is safe to do. Until then, an evacuation center has also been created for those seeking help.

"As you can see on the properties, there's some homes in between the damaged or destroyed homes that are still upright," said Captain Thang Nguyen with the OCFA. "What people need to understand is that the ones that are damaged, those walls are barely hanging on in some cases. They can come over and fall onto the houses... that's a public safety hazard."

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Southern California Edison said it sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission to inform them of "circuit activity" around the time the fire was reported. It's not clear if that means there was a power line down, but one resident from south Laguna Beach told Eyewitness News the power went out moments before she started hearing sirens apparently responding to the fire.

"We did have wind, which is a normal wind condition for this area," Assistant Fire Chief TJ McGovern. "Since it started at the bottom of the drainage, it started running up-canyon and upslope. Throwing some wind on that, and the terrain -- the steepness of it, was a bad recipe."

McGovern said one firefighter was injured Wednesday and was taken to the hospital. A second firefighters was reported injured Thursday, but both have treated and released.

Couple reunited with priceless wedding photo rescued by firefighters battling Laguna Niguel wildfire
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Residents of a Laguna Niguel community evacuated during the Coastal Fire got a firsthand look at the destruction left behind, as one man gets reunited with a priceless photo saved from the flames.

Residents in the area can visit the Crown Valley Community Center at 29751 Crown Valley Parkway for assistance. The Orange County Emergency Operations Center has also created a public information hotline to respond to questions from residents. You can reach them at 714-628-7085.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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