A fire burned in Laguna Beach in 1993, consuming 16,000 acres and destroying or severely damaging over 400 homes and causing $528 million dollars in damage.
The fire started on October 27, 1993 as a brush fire in Laguna Canyon. It spread when embers jumped a firebreak into Laguna Beach and Emerald Bay. The speed of the fire was phenomenal. The top half of Emerald Canyon burned at a rate of 100 acres per minute. Fire flashed across Laguna Canyon Road in six places, leaping up the slope with 200- feet flames. Fire burned 1.25 miles of brush in 17 minutes to reach Canyon Acres.
After destroying homes in Canyon Acres, the blaze ascended from the canyon floor to obliterate the Mystic Hills neighborhood. By 2 p.m. the fires reaches Emerald Bay and Boat Canyon, jumps Laguna Canyon Road reaching Canyon Acres about 3:30 p.m. The fire raced up the hillside to Skyline /Mystic Hills about 4 p.m. and by 5 p.m. had reached its farthest extremities, to El Morro and Temple Hills. About 10 p.m. the winds shifted and the fire was declared contained by midnight. Mutual aid from other communities included 345 fire engines, 17 dozers, 30 aircraft, 11 hand crews, and a total of 1,968 fire personnel.
Sadly, the Laguna Beach Fire killed nearly one in five of the County’s gnatcatchers, a serious setback for the threatened songbird.
Click here to view a video of the Laguna Beach fire courtesy of the City of Laguna Beach website.
25 Largest Fire Losses in U.S. History
Below table courtesy of NFPA:
Portland Fire & Rescue
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October 27, 2010