The initial vegetation fire eventually became a Coastal Fire in the Laguna Niguel region and was first reported to authorities at around 2:44 p.m. local time, Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy confirmed via NBC News.
Fennessy said the department hadn't received any reports of injuries in relation to the fire, but confirmed an estimated 20 or more homes are believed to have been destroyed in the path of the blaze.
The fire chief said the department would undergo further damage assessments before announcing a confirmed total of homes lost in the fire and described the terrain as "extremely steep."
Fennessy said the strong winds present during the wildfire were normal, but extremely dry vegetation in the area led to a fires catching and spreading quickly.
“The fuel moisture is so low that those fires are taking off and running on us,” Fennessy said via NBC News.
Laguna Niguel, which has a population estimated to be around 64,000, implemented mandatory evacuations in response to the wildfire and residents in nearby Laguna Beach were advised to remain vigilant as first responders continued to work in the area.
Fennessy said the strong winds died down Wednesday night and crews made successful progress through the rest of the evening.
Wildfires have been a reoccurring threat in California. In November, officials confirmed to the Associated Press that wildfires had killed "nearly a fifth" of the world's largest trees during the past two years.