Coastal Fire in South Orange County Destroys 20 Homes - It's a Wake-Up Call

  • Posted on 16 May 2022
  • By Angeles Chapter Wildland Urban Wildfire Committee (WUWC)

A firefighter walks past burning homes at Coronado Pointe in Laguna Niguel.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A firefighter walks past burning homes at Coronado Pointe in Laguna Niguel.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Coastal Fire, a brush fire driven by California’s prolonged drought that burned some 200 acres, destroyed 20 homes and damaged 11, sent two firefighters to the hospital, and forced hundreds to evacuate their homes, is a wake-up call for all those living in hillside communities. 

As of Monday (5/16), the blaze was 90% contained. The fire had not grown in size since Saturday and remains at 200 acres burned, according to the Orange Country Fire Authority. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The 2022 fire season has already broken out in full force with 1,000s of acres burning across the west and an entire neighborhood lost in SoCal—It’s mid-May. And with a once in a millennium drought gripping North America, California is buckling under the strain of an environmental catastrophe —  it's only going to get worse.
It’s just not normal. What we’re witnessing firsthand is the dawn of a new era. One where wildfire reality is eclipsing wildfire science. The climate crisis of a fire season that does not end.
“The difference is… climate change... throughout Southern California, throughout the west, are so dry that a fire like this is going to be a more common place…this has become our norm”- Orange County Fire Authority
With climate-related disasters becoming more frequent, more deadly, and more destructive, with growing human and financial costs, we, too, must adapt to stem the escalating loss of life and property. Three key areas to focus our efforts on are stopping new construction in high-fire risk zones, protecting the health and resilience of natural areas, and taking the climate crisis seriously by phasing out emissions.
"Wildfires become more destructive due to climate change, historic fire suppression, and development in Wildlands," says Daniel Swain, a UCLA climate scientist. 

Sierra Club supports an end to building in very high fire hazard severity zones, especially in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) that borders our communities. Home hardening and fire-safe landscaping that resists wildfire is the best answer for houses that already exist in those areas. We’re fighting development in Calabasas, Santa Clarita, and Diamond Bar to avoid detrimental environmental impacts, mitigate fire impacts, and support mix-use development near transit and job-rich areas, lowering planet-warming emissions.
There’s much work to be done, and until significant progress is made, nobody is safe. 
Want to help make a difference? Join the Angeles Chapter Wildland Urban Wildfire Committee and get involved in our work to save our urban open space, wildlife, and residents from fire danger as we work to address climate change.
Contact Lynne Plambeck for more information on the Wildland Urban Wildfire Committee.
Blog Category: 

Add new comment

Enter the characters shown in the image.