I have to admit I am glad to see fires in southern ca, because it means Illegal aliens and gang members and rich Iranians and the Kardashians and Oprah are put out. Just weeks ago , Oprah was telling WIll Smith that she felt so shut out because she was black so excluded and this millionaire neighborhood is where she has one of her houses. When she was born she would only have been allowed to be a maid in a place like this and yet she complains about her current status?
One of the blazes, in the district of Sylmar near Los Angeles National Forest, was yesterday said to be the worst the city has seen since the catastrophic 1961 brush fire in Bel Air, which destroyed more than 480 homes.
“This is as bad a fire as I can remember,” said Zev Yarovslavsky, the Los Angeles County supervisor.” [In terms of] the explosiveness of it, and the human devastation that is involved.”
California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, called a state of emergency in response to the fires, and the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, warned that the city could face an electricity blackout as a result of damage to the power infrastructure.
As of yesterday, it was estimated that about 200 multi-million dollar homes had been destroyed—along with 600 mobile homes, apartments, and other properties—as fires ranged directly to the north of Los Angeles in Slymar, to the east in Riverside and Orange counties, and to the northwest in Montecito, an ultra-wealthy enclave of Santa Barbara County.
Montecito is home to the billionaire TV show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey, along with Jeff Bridges, Ellen DeGeneres, John Cleese and Michael Douglas. Even the Schwarzeneggers own land in the area. Ms Winfrey, who was in Chicago when the fires struck, said she had made emergency plans to check her dogs into a nearby Four Seasons hotel if the flames had threatened her estate.
Celebrity victims of the blazes have so far included Christopher Lloyd, the actor who played Doc Brown in Back to the Future. His home had been worth $11 million.
Amongst the 15,000 or so evacuees from fire-stricken areas around Los Angeles was Rob Lowe, who starred in the hit TV show The West Wing.
Mr Lowe told a local Los Angeles TV station that the entire mountainside around his Montecito home—to the northwest of Los Angeles—was engulfed in flames, some of which were shooting 200 feet into the air. “Embers were raining down,” he said. “They were in our hair, they were in our shirts. The wind was easily 70 miles an hour and it was absolutely Armageddon.”
Six firefighters were injured over the weekend in various blazes, including four firefighters who were hurt when flames swept over their engine. Two of the crewmembers required hospital treatment, but they were later released.
It is thought that at least 13 others were injured in Santa Barbara County, and a 98-year-old died after being evacuated—although it was not clear yesterday if his death was directly linked to the blaze.