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Volunteers on fire watch in Laguna

Laguna Beach police and firefighters will stay vigilant during the Red Flag alert expected to continue through 6 p.m. Wednesday, Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Jason Kravetz said.

Members of the Greater Laguna Coast Fire Safe Council and police volunteers are watching closely for any signs of fire in tinder-dry Laguna Canyon and other wildlands.

“Volunteers are working around the clock in the canyons and hillsides,” Kravetz said. The Red Flag conditions could continue to Thursday.

All sworn officers, including detectives, and other staff are reporting to work in uniform to be ready for deployment if their services are needed, he added.

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Laguna Beach Unified School District has implemented a new plan this year to close the three schools considered most vulnerable to fire on Red Flag days, Kravetz said. El Morro and Top of the World Elementary schools and Thurston Middle School remained closed today. Laguna Beach High School was not originally on the closure list but students were told to stay home today.

Some private schools are also closed.

In an ironic twist, a red flag itself generated a fire scare on two separate occasions. The fire flag, located in the 20600 block of Laguna Canyon Road above the Blue Belle Foundation for Cats, was mistaken for flames at 10 a.m. Monday and again at 6:33 a.m. Tuesday, according to police records.

In other fire-related news, the American Red Cross is asking people to call and make appointments to donate blood, after wildfires caused the cancellation of several blood drives, resulting in the loss of 200 pints of blood.

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To donate blood, call (800) 448-3543 or visit www.GiveLife.org.


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