Los Angeles

Wildfire Torches Famed Hollywood Sites, Sends Celebrities Fleeing

The TV and movie production location known as "Western Town" at the historic Paramount Ranch is believed to have burned

A fast-moving wildfire in Southern California has scorched a historic movie site, endangered an iconic bachelor pad and forced numerous celebrities to join the thousands fleeing flames that have claimed homes and prompted the total evacuation of the celebrity enclave Malibu.

Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Orlando Bloom, Jessica Simpson and Guillermo del Toro are among numerous celebrities forced to evacuate their homes, in some cases hurriedly trying to arrange transport for their horses. Some, like del Toro and Caitlyn Jenner, did not know the fate of their homes.

But the wind-driven wildfire has destroyed the home of some stars. Gerard Butler shared a photo of his devastated home, where only the beams and a burned-out car remained. The actor thanked firefighters and called it a "heartbreaking time across California."

Also destroyed were the home of "Dr. Strange" director Scott Derrickson and the historic Paramount Ranch where shows like HBO's "Westworld" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" were filmed. Singer Robin Thicke also posted on Instagram that his Malibu "house is gone."

The blaze started Thursday night and continued to grow into Sunday. It pushed toward Malibu and the Pacific Ocean, prompting evacuations in Malibu, Calabasas, Agoura Hills and other nearby areas.

A producer for ABC's "The Bachelor" tweeted Friday that the iconic mansion where the franchise has been filmed since 2007 was "in grave danger." The show is currently filming its 23rd season, but the cast is abroad.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Camille Grammer posted an Instagram photo of her home aflame, writing, "Sadly my house couldn’t be saved."

Alyssa Milano, who on Friday tweeted that her house was "in jeopardy" but she had gotten needed help to evacuate her horses and that her children were safe, was among the lucky ones.

"My house is still standing. I'm on my way to bring firefighters water and food," she tweeted. She previously said her heart was with others facing "this awful disaster." 

Rainn Wilson shared on social media that the flames missed his home "by a dozen yards!" He said his animals were saved and that his family was overseas at the time.

Others were left to wait.

Caitlyn Jenner, whose hilltop home appeared intact when it was shot by a photographer for The Associated Press on Saturday morning. Jenner's representative noted that the Olympic gold medalist wouldn't know the extent of any damage to the home until she was allowed to return to it.

Kardashian West posted video on Instagram of an area on fire with a message "Pray for Calabasas." She said she landed back home, spent one hour packing and evacuated shortly afterward. Her fellow Kardashians and Jenner's also posted to social media that they were waiting for word of the fate of their homes.

Gaga also took to social media letting her followers know she evacuated Friday morning as she shared a few videos focused on the smoke-filled skies. The singer said she is "sending my prayers" to everyone impacted by the fire.

Derrickson said he is safe despite losing his home.

Cher is concerned about her house in Malibu, an area where the actress-singer has lived for more than 45 years.

"I'm worried about my house, but there is nothing I can do," she tweeted. "Friends houses have burned. I can't bear the thought of there being no Malibu I've had a house in Malibu since 1972."

Bloom and Simpson wrote on social media that the fires were growing close to their houses and streets.

In addition to dozens of homes destroyed, Paramount Ranch's "Western Town," a landmark film location that included a jail, hotel and saloon, had burned to the ground.

The ranch served as a location for productions ranging from 1938's "The Adventures of Marco Polo" to TV shows "The Mentalist" and "Weeds." The set in the mountains west of Los Angeles dates to 1927 when Paramount Pictures leased the ranch and began making films there.

Western Town specifically was built for TV productions in the 1950s and was used for such westerns as "The Cisco Kid" and "Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre."

Filming continued for decades even as the ranch changed hands. It was acquired by the National Park Service in 1980 but has continued to function as a filming location, serving as a location for the first two seasons of the sci-fi series "Westworld." HBO said it did not know the extent of the damage and expressed concern for "all those affected by these horrible fires."

When not in use for filming, visitors could stroll through Western Town while hiking or riding through on horseback.

Actor James Woods asked nearly 2 million of his Twitter followers to use the hashtag #CampFireJamesWoods to help share names of those who are missing in a separate wildfire in Northern California that has claimed five lives.

He also tweeted resources for horse owners to have their animals evacuated from the Southern California blaze, and called Milano's report that her family and horses had been evacuated "good news."

Woods was not among those displaced — he tweeted that he was on the East Coast.

Associated Press Writer John Antczak contributed to the report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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