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Boy accidentally started 175-acre brush fire in Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo, officials say

A brush fire that scorched 175 acres and temporarily displaced thousands of Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo residents early this month was started accidentally by a boy, according to Orange County Fire Authority officials.

Capt. Steve Concialdi said Tuesday that laws protecting the privacy of minors prevented him from releasing information about the child. He also did not say how the fire was ignited.

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“Our fire investigators did an excellent job of investigating the cause and through their work, they uncovered this information,” Concialdi said. “The juvenile did admit what happened.”

The Aliso fire, which was fully contained Friday, broke out shortly after 1 p.m. June 2 below Laguna Beach’s Top of the World neighborhood and behind Soka University in Aliso Viejo.

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All Laguna residents who were evacuated because of the fire, which was initially exacerbated by strong winds, were permitted to return to their homes the following day. Initially, 1,500 residents were evacuated from the Top of the World and Old Top of the World neighborhoods.

The blaze also forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes in Aliso Viejo. That order was lifted at 9 p.m. June 2 after authorities determined the fire was no longer a threat to those homes.

Hundreds of firefighters from cities across Southern California, including Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, helped battle the blaze. Eleven air tankers and eight helicopters were on the scene over the weekend at the height of the fire, officials said.

Five firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries. No structures were damaged, officials said.

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