Celebs and Locals Hit by Raging Wildfires
And it’s still going strong
Not since 1961 has the city of Los Angeles seen such devastation due to wildfires. Seasonal winds of up to 100km/h are said to blame for the unfathomable blaze that began near Sylmar late Friday night and quickly swept through 2600ha.
By Saturday over 5000 residences were torched beyond recognition, 10,000 people had fled the area, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that LA had “…never lost in recent times anything close to this number.”
As if it could get any worse, the Sylmar fire was just one of several raging across Southern California on Saturday, as a sizeable fire was also burning everything in its path near Yorba Linda and Corona.
Sunday saw goodhearted celebs such as Christopher Lloyd – whose home was at least partly damaged – and Rob Lowe helping to rescue neighbors in Montecito who had been fenced in by 60m-high flames. One man, aged 98, didn’t make it out alive, and at least 13 others were considerably wounded.
Oprah Winfrey, who was in Chicago at the time, stated that her 17ha property was safe and sound, but that she “now really appreciated the horror that is a wildfire.”
During the taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday, Rob Lowe – along with a few Montecito inhabitants – discussed the tragedies that befell upon their friends and neighbors. Lowe said his house had survived the fires, but just barely. He was watching football with his son when his wife called to warn him of the approaching flames, mere minutes before they reached the property.
Lowe also shared the story about next door neighbors the Simmons who had been trapped behind their gates and were unable to escape.
“The Simmons could not get out of their gate,” the West Wing actor revealed. “Their daughter was lost on the property and so… another gentlemen and I pry 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.”
The fires are continuing to spread near Los Angeles, but lighter winds have fortunately restored some hope.