A fire has destroyed several houses in the south of the US state of California, including some villas worth millions, according to media reports. The bush fire broke out at a water treatment plant near the towns of Laguna Niguel and Laguna Beach in the Orange District, the authorities said on Wednesday evening.
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Fanned by strong Pacific winds, the flames spread quickly. By the evening, the so-called Coastal Fire had destroyed around 20 homes, said Orange County Fire Department chief Brian Fennessy. Nothing was initially known about the possible cause.
“The vegetation is so dry that it’s easy for the fire to spread very quickly,” he said. According to media reports, hundreds of residents had to leave their homes and get to safety. So far, however, no one has been injured. The fire brigade was on duty throughout the night.
At least five multimillion-dollar ocean-view villas burned down, according to CBS News-owned broadcaster KCAL, which showed aerial footage. Among them is a 900 square meter property that has just been for sale for an estimated ten million dollars (around 9.5 million euros).
The southwestern United States has been suffering from several forest fires for weeks, which the authorities say are favored by the persistent drought. The state of New Mexico is currently the worst affected. (dpa)