‘Circuit activity’ reported near start of Laguna Niguel fire – NBC Los Angeles

Southern California Edison says it notified state utility regulators that ‘circuit activity’ was detected around the same time a bushfire broke out in the hills above the coast of Orange County and quickly burned through a neighborhood.

The Coastal Fire was reported around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday in Aliso Woods Canyon near Laguna Niguel. Fanned by ocean winds, the flames cut through thick brush in the canyon and climbed to the top of the ridgeline and threw wind-scattered embers onto homes.

At least 20 houses burnt down. About 900 homes were evacuated between Laguna Niguel and the nearby town of Laguna Beach.

Authorities have not determined a cause, but SoCal Edision confirmed that “circuit activity” was reported around the time the fire broke out.

“Our thoughts are with those in the community whose homes have been damaged and those who are (or have been) evacuated due to the Coastal Fire, and we are coordinating with fire departments as needed to ensure the safety of firefighters,” the utility said in a statement. . “Our top priority is the safety of customers, employees and communities, which is why we continue to improve our wildfire mitigation efforts through network hardening, situational awareness and improvement of operational practices.”

SoCal Edison said it submitted an initial Electrical Safety Incident Report (ESIR) to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that indicates “circuit activity” occurring “shortly” from the reported time. of the fire – around 2:45 p.m.

ESIR reports are required for certain types of incidents. The report is intended to inform the CPUC of circuit activity so the agency can investigate.

Electrical equipment has previously been linked to the ignition of destructive wildfires in California, which spread rapidly in high winds. Wind gusts were 20 to 30 mph in the Laguna Niguel area on Wednesday.

Last year, the state Utilities Commission approved a settlement imposing more than half a billion dollars in fines and penalties on Southern California Edison for its role in five wildfires in 2017 and 2018 .

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