(Los Angeles) A ​​fire, as sudden as it was violent, destroyed about twenty luxury homes on the California coast, where firefighters continued Thursday morning to fight to contain the flames.

Dubbed the “Coastal Fire,” the brush fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in the town of Laguna Niguel, in the hills overlooking the Pacific, about 80 miles south of Los Angeles.

Fanned by the blowing Pacific wind, it swept through about 80 hectares of vegetation and required the evacuation of nearly a thousand homes in a posh residential area where each home is worth millions of dollars.

According to Orange County elected official Lisa Bartlett, the wind helped spread the disaster, but the size of the villas also played a role.

“If you look at the size of the dwellings, there are so many combustible materials that they burn quickly. And then the wind blows and the flames jump from house to house,” Ms. Bartlett, whose constituency includes Laguna Niguel, told the Los Angeles Times.

For Orange County Fire Chief Brian Fennessy, the disaster illustrates once again that the region, like much of the western United States, is now exposed to the risk of disasters year-round. fire, due in particular to a chronic drought.

“It’s sad to say but we’re getting used to it. The winds we have recorded are normal […] The fire is spreading very quickly through this very, very dry vegetation,” he said.

The causes of the fire outbreak were not known at this point but the local electric utility, Southern California Edison, reported to California authorities that it recorded “activity” in its circuits around the same time.

Fires are common in the western United States but have become increasingly intense due to global warming caused by human activities, including fossil fuels, which is worsening an already chronic drought.

In California, average temperatures during the summer are 1.6°C higher than their level at the end of the 19th century.

https://www.lapresse.ca/international/etats-unis/2022-05-12/californie/un-incendie-detruit-une-vingtaine-de-maisons-luxueuses.php

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