On Sunday, July 26 around 4pm, the Huntington Beach Fire Department responded to a brush fire in the Bolsa Chica Wetlands Mesa area. The fire, compounded with challenging on-shore winds and dry brush, was threatening several hundred homes in the Brightwater Community, Bolsa Chica Conservancy Interpretive Center, Bolsa Chica Land Trust Growing Space, wildlife, trees, and native plants.
Huntington Engine 47 was able to put on their wildland personal protective equipment and arrive on scene within five minutes of the dispatch. They reported that the fire was moving quickly towards the Brightwater Community and was approximately 400 yards and ten minutes from their location. An aggressive fire attack took place with a total of approximately 70 firefighters from 11 fire engines, one hand crew, two water dropping helicopters, two utility trucks, and four chief officers with assistance from the Orange County Fire Authority and Fountain Valley Fire Departments. Ultimately, the fire was stopped 100 yards from the Brightwater Community which suffered no damage.
The fire was contained at 7pm with no injuries to firefighters. Firefighters continued to work throughout the night to ensure that there were no hot spots or flare ups. Throughout the next day, firefighters retrieved hose from the wetlands and cleaned it at their stations.
Firefighters were able to protect property, native plants, and trees which provide housing for an abundance of wildlife including a family of owlets. We thank the Bolsa Chica Conservancy for their efforts and the Bolsa Chica Land Trust who had created a defensible space prior to this fire that helped to protect their growing space where they raise native plants for future restoration efforts.
We also thank our community who continues to give us endless support before, during, and after the fire. Because the fire occurred on unincorporated land, the investigation is being conducted by the Orange County Fire Authority.