A brush fire burning Thursday in Laguna Beach has prompted evacuation orders and warnings for some communities with multimillion-dollar homes in the area.

The fire was reported at around 4:10 a.m. and spread quickly throughout the hillside area near Pacific Coast Highway.

A short time later, the city of Laguna Beach issued an “immediate evacuation order” for the communities of Irvine Cove, Emerald Bay, and also issued an evacuation warning for the North Laguna area.

A portion of Pacific Coast Highway was closed. Laguna Beach is in a wind advisory and the fire is being driven by powerful Santa Ana winds, CBS 2 reported.

Fire crews from the Orange County Fire Authority were deployed, along with personnel from the Laguna Beach Fire Department, assisted by water-dropping helicopters in a mutual-aid response from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Also, law enforcement personnel, including those from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol were deployed to secure the area, OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy said at a 7:30 a.m. briefing. The fire’s size was reported at 7 to 10 acres.

“We’ve got almost an engine in front of every home — that’s how robust the response was,” Fennessy said. “It was really the north end of Emerald Bay … an unincorporated area of Orange County. So, the fire literally was pushed north along the edges of those homes on the northern edge, and so they were not directly impacted.”

Fennessy said the last time the area burned was in 1993, when a number of structures were lost.

Winds are expected to die down Thursday afternoon, but firefighters were closely monitoring the winds because “they can pick right up again,” Fennessy said.

“And so, our biggest concern would be that fire moving north, jumping where we’ve got it held right now, and moving north towards Newport Beach,” Fennessy said. “I’m satisfied with the number of resources we have at scene, and we have en route; and at this time, I’m feeling pretty confident we’ve got a pretty good handle on this fire right now. … The bulk of the fire is away from the structures now.”

The massive hillside blaze has forced the cancellation of classes Thursday at El Morro Elementary School and in the Laguna Beach Unified School District, CBS 2 reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Fennessy said.

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