Smoke and fire trucks
The sky glows red from the flames of the fire near Soka University. Courtesy OCFA

A wind-driven brush fire has consumed 125 acres and was threatening structures near a canyon between Aliso Viejo and Laguna Beach Saturday, authorities said.

The fire was reported at 1:07 p.m. in Wood Canyon behind Soka University of America, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito said.

At 5:30 p.m. the fire had consumed 200 acres, Bommarito said. It threatened structures at Soka University of America and the Top of the World neighborhood of Laguna Beach.. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft were making water drops but there was no containment.

Mandatory evacuations were beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Aliso Viejo affecting about 2,000 homes in the area of Wood Canyon and Pacific Park drives. an evacuation shelter was to open at Aliso Niguel High School, 28000 Wolverwine Way, the city of Aliso Viejo said. About 1500 residents were evaucated from Top of the World and the Old Top of the World and the evacuees were sent to the Susi Q Center at 380 Third St. in Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach police said. No injuries were reported.

More than 275 firefighters were battling the blaze including multiple engines in place for structure defense, he said. Fire behavior was termed “extreme” and canyon winds were “erratic,” firefighters said.

Both ends of Wood Canyon Road were closed and residents who left their homes were not allowed to return due to smoke and ash and a need to keep roads clear for first responders.

Costa Mesa High School was scheduled to hold its prom Saturday at Soka University and that event was postponed one week, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District said.

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