California Firefighters Mop Up After Wildfire

Firefighters continued Monday to secure the area where a 4-acre fire broke out at Coast Highway and Nyes Place on Sunday, according to Laguna Beach Fire Department Division Chief Dan Stefano.

At least 20 firefighters, including an Orange County Fire Authority crew, and about two local fire engines were in the area making sure there were no flare-ups, he said Monday.

"A lot of times, with a fire like that, we have to go in to the interior area and make sure everything is out and make sure that we don't have something that could reignite," Stefano said. "Depending on today, we may have some folks who stay on through tomorrow."

A command post is still set up at Ruby's Diner, 30622 Coast Hwy.

The fire was first reported at about 11:36 a.m. Sunday, Stefano said.

At one point, about 150 firefighters were battling the blaze, according to OCFA spokeswoman Lynnette Round.

Lanes of Coast Highway were closed Sunday but were reopened by 5 p.m., the city said in a news release.

About 20 homes on Nyes Place were threatened and residents were given an optional evacuation notice, which was lifted around 8 p.m. Sunday, Round said.

As of Monday, all residents were allowed to return, Stefano said in a follow-up email.

"We are not aware of any residents whom have not returned," he added.

Streets have been reopened, except for portions of Nyes Place where fire engines and other fire apparatus are, Stefano said.

City officials said the 700 block of Nyes Place has been reduced to one lane due to the equipment. The fire department is coordinating traffic in the area.

Helicopters also may be in the area, dropping water if necessary, according to the city.

No structures were damaged in the blaze. One OCFA firefighter was injured and transported to a hospital Sunday. Stefano had no further details.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"We did see some power lines down, but we're not sure if that started the fire. Investigators are looking into it," Round said Sunday.

Stefano said that a cause may be determined by day's end; however, depending on how the investigation goes, it could extend a couple of days.

As for power outages, the city said Edison had restored power to Laguna Terrace Mobile Home Park as of 2 a.m. Monday through emergency generators. The release noted that Edison is working to restore permanent power to residents and may use a helicopter to do this.

The city also said St. Catherine of Siena Parish School and Ruby's are both operating on normal schedules.

Copyright 2012 - Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, Costa Mesa, Calif.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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