A fire in Laguna Niguel, California, has burned through 200 acres and several multimillion-dollar homes since it started on May 11. The cause of the Coastal Fire, which is burning just a few miles southeast of Laguna Beach, has yet to be determined.
According to a May 13 update from the Orange County Fire Authority on Twitter, 31 homes have been damaged or destroyed, and the fire was 15% contained. CNN reports that over 900 homes were under evacuation orders, citing the Orange County Fire Authority Assistant Chief of Field Operations TJ McGovern.
California is entering its wildfire season on the heels of an incredibly dry start to the year, worrying officials, as dry conditions coupled with heatwaves can help wildfires spread more easily. Research suggests that wildfire seasons around the world are likely expanding under climate change, as dry conditions persist for longer each year and droughts worsen. Eight of the 10 largest wildfires in California’s history have all occurred within the past five years.
Over 500 firefighters are battling the blaze, per the Orange County Fire Authority. The Laguna Niguel fire is occurring as multiple wildfires—like the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fire—engulf the American Southwest.