Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

California wildfires grow in size as flames reach Rupert Murdoch vineyard

California wildfires grow in size as flames reach Rupert Murdoch vineyard

The Bel-Air fire that has destroyed homes and forced major evacuations is burning near the vineyard estate of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The wildfires are also putting the infamous Getty Center is jeopardy, which was closed on Wednesday, along with UCLA's campus where the flames are also threatening to spread.

The fire brought back memories of the 1961 Bel-Air fire, in which movie stars including Maureen O'Hara and Fred MacMurray fought to save their homes - a seminal event that fed apocalyptic visions of Los Angeles for decades to come. The property has been evacuated but based on what we're seeing on TV there may be damage to some buildings in the upper vineyard area.

Murdoch's property is "a wine growing estate in the Santa Monica Mountains at an elevation of 600 to 900 feet, five miles from the Pacific Ocean", according to Moraga's website.

"We believe the winery and house are still intact". NBC reported that staff at the villa was ordered to evacuate the property, which features a 7,500-square-foot house that's surrounded by olive trees and chicken.

Mr Murdoch's property at 1050 Moraga Avenue was bought in August 2013 for US$28.8 million from former Northrop Corp CEO Tom Jones.

The Skirball fire has burned more than 150 acres as Santa Ana winds continue to create risky conditions.

President Trump tweeted his thanks to first responders while writing that thoughts and prayers were with everyone in the fire's path. The fire is now being fought by hundreds of firefighters, Los Angeles Daily News reports, and at least four homes have already been destroyed.

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