Back Bay fire leads to evacuations

A vegetation fire that broke out near Newport Beach's Back Bay on Wednesday burned between 3 and 5 acres and caused a brief evacuation of a nearby apartment complex and car dealership, authorities said.

Firefighters first responded to the blaze at Jamboree Road and the 73 Freeway around 4:30 p.m., said Jennifer Manzella, spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Fire Department. It was extinguished within an hour.

There were no reported injuries or structural damage.

"At this point, we feel like it's completely under control," said Newport police Lt. Jeff Brouwer around 6 p.m., when remaining fire personnel were knocking out hot spots in the brush.

Twenty-five units from Newport, Costa Mesa and the Orange County Fire Authority responded to the scene.

Manzella said Fletcher Jones Motorcars, at Jamboree and Bayview Way, was affected by the fire's smoke and ensuing ash. The dealership and the Baypointe apartments on Jamboree were briefly evacuated, Manzella said.

Residents have since been permitted to return to their homes.

Fletcher Jones employee Sergio Valencia said he saw the blaze start near the freeway and move toward Jamboree within a matter of minutes. He estimated the flames to be 30 feet high.

"People started running outside, so I ran outside too," Valencia said.

—Bradley Zint, Jeremiah Dobruck and Adolfo Flores

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