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Southern California wildfire scorches 200 acres and destroys two dozen homes

One firefighter has been hurt in efforts to knock down the Coastal Fire in Orange County.

At least 24 homes and about 200 acres have burned as wind-whipped flames roared through an affluent Southern California community, officials said Thursday.

The Coastal Fire, which touched off Wednesday afternoon in and around Laguna Niguel in Orange County, was listed at zero percent containment at 10:53 a.m. local time.

Gusts up to 30 mph were recorded in the area Wednesday, and winds of up 20 mph were expected Thursday.

"It's been a long night for the people of Laguna Niguel," Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who represents Laguna Niguel, told reporters. "The fire has been devastating for many families."

Image: A firefighter works to put out a structure burning during a wildfire on May 11, 2022, in Laguna Niguel, Calif.
A firefighter works to put out a structure burning during a wildfire Wednesday in Laguna Niguel, Calif.Marcio J. Sanchez / AP

Residents of 900 homes were under evacuation orders, authorities said.

Firefighters said homeowners acted quickly, leading to a maximum amount of time and space for equipment and manpower to get into place.

"We want to thank the citizens of the community with their rapid evacuation," said TJ McGovern, the Orange County Fire Authority’s assistant chief of field operations.

"We made the evacuation order, and they immediately responded to that order, got out of harm’s way, which allowed us to get our resources in there to start engaging in the fire fight."

The evacuations can open the door for burglars to hit empty homes, but Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Virgil Asuncion reassured residents that deputies will keep an eye on those houses.

"We want the community to know that the Orange County Sheriff's Department has deployed personnel in the evacuated areas and the rest of the city to protect lives and property," Asuncion said.

A firefighter was injured on the lines and taken to the hospital, officials said Thursday. The person's condition was not immediately disclosed.

The cause of the fire had not been determined.