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California wildfires threaten celebrity homes

Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Snoop Dogg are among 26,000 residents of Southern California forced to evacuate their homes this weekend as wildfires swept through the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernadino and Riverside.

More than 100 homes were destroyed in Santa Barbara and Montecito, a secluded area that has attracted such stars as Lowe, Winfrey, Jeff Bridges and Michael Douglas. The home of Back to the Future actor Christopher Lloyd was destroyed.

Fires surround celebrity homes in Malibu

Lowe described the scene as he tried to flee with his family. “(Our neighbors) The Simmons could not get out of their gate. Their daughter was lost on the property and so I had another gentleman and I pried the gates open. We tried to comfort the Simmons, and embers were raining down. They were in our hair, they were in our shirts. The wind was easily 70 miles an hour and it was absolutely Armageddon.”

At least 13 people have been injured and one man killed in the blaze.

“When you walk around the areas that were devastated, it looked like hell today,” Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger says.

The fire is being fueled by dry brush and oil-rich eucalyptus trees, as well as blistering 70 PH winds that sweep down from the mountains to the sea as the sun sets each evening.

November 17, 2008

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