LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. — Fire crews from San Diego County have made the drive up to Laguna Niguel to aid crews battling a destructive fire that has prompted a response from agencies all across southern California.
Fanned by offshore winds, a brush fire, dubbed the Coastal Fire, exploded in the Orange County city Wednesday, consuming nearly 200 acres and burning two-dozen homes. The fire was 0% contained as of Thursday afternoon, fire authorities said.
San Diego Fire-Rescue department has two battalion chiefs and one four-person crew aiding at the Coastal Fire, said SDFD Public Information Officer Mónica Muñoz. They also have crews at the Hermit Peaks fire in New Mexico and a captain at the Crooks Fire in Arizona.
San Diego Fire Capt. Joe Amador told FOX 5’s Jason Sloss that his crew arrived late Wednesday night to help relieve the local crews.
“We’ve been here ever since trying to support their mission, which is basically just to patrol and protect … some of the remaining structures,” he explained.
“We find it, you know, honorable to come up to another community and come help,” Amador continued. “For us to come up here means that we can turn around, if something happened to San Diego, they’ll be willing to come back and help us should the need arise.”
North County Fire Protection District has two strike teams in Laguna Niguel made up of multiple agencies around North County San Diego, Public Information Officer John Choi said.
The first strike team is in conjunction with Vista Fire Department. The second team consists of crews from Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, Pala Fire Department and Rincon Fire Department. In total, the North County Fire teams consist of 27 personnel.
Heartland Fire Rescue Department, which handles fire protection coverage for the cities Lemon Grove, La Mesa and El Cajon, also has crews on the scene.
Heartland Fire sent one Cal OES brush engine from La Mesa with 4 firefighters, one engine from El Cajon with 3 firefighters and one chief officer to assist the Orange County blaze, according to Heartland Fire Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Andy McKellar.
Fire crews from the South Bay have also gotten the call to head north to the Orange County fire.
Chula Vista Fire sent four firefighters as part of a OES type lll strike team, according to CVFD Fire Captain Josh Sanders. National City Fire Department said in an Instagram post that they sent an OES engine to assist as part of a Metro Zone strike team.
Cal Fire San Diego and Carlsbad Fire Department crews have been spotted at the Coastal Fire scene.
Orange County Fire Authority officials are expected to give an update during a news briefing at 5:00 p.m. Thursday.
It is unknown at this time how long San Diego-area fire crews will be needed at the fire scene.