Aliso Viejo Fire At 10 Percent Containment, 600 Remain Out Of Homes

ALISO VIEJO (CNS) - Good progress was reported in the battle against a wind-driven brush fire that has consumed 150 acres of brushy hillsides and a canyon between Aliso Viejo and Laguna Beach.

SIx hundred persons remained evacuated today from the Top Of The World neighborhood, in Laguna Beach, about two miles west of the fire lines.

The blaze was 10 percent contained as of this morning, the Orange County Fire Authority announced. Evacuation orders were lifted at 9 p.m. Saturday.

The fire was reported at 1:07 p.m. Saturday in Wood Canyon behind Soka University of America, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito said.

By 6:30 p.m. Saturday the fire reportedly had consumed 250 acres, Bommarito said. That figure had been reduced to 200 acres by 8:40 p.m. Saturday.

The fire threatened structures at Soka University of America and the Top of the World neighborhood of Laguna Beach.

Six air tankers and four helicopters made drops of water and fire retardant along the perimeter of the fire late Saturday afternoon, Bommarito said. Two helicopters remained battling the flames after sunset, as air support was crucial to keeping the fire at bay.

One firefighter suffered a minor leg injury, Bommarito said.

Mandatory evacuations began at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Aliso Viejo affecting about 2,000 homes in the area of Wood Canyon and Pacific Park drives. an evacuation shelter opened at Aliso Niguel High School, 28000 Wolverine Way, the City of Aliso Viejo said. Those evacuations were lifted at 9 p.m. after the fire no longer threatened the homes.

About 1,500 residents were evacuated from Top of the World and the Old Top of the World neighborhoods above Laguna Beach. Evacuees were sent to the Susi Q Center at 380 Third St. in Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach police said.

Those evacuations continued overnight, Bommarito said.

More than 400 firefighters were battling the blaze including multiple engines in place for structure defense, he said.

Both ends of Wood Canyon Road were closed and residents who left their homes were not allowed to return due to smoke and ash and a need to keep roads clear for first responders, authorities said.

Costa Mesa High School's prom scheduled for Saturday night at Soka University was postponed a week, according to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

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