The fires rampaging across Southern California have ripped through a Bel-Air canyon in the hills above the University of California, Los Angeles, an elite enclave where backyard tennis courts are the norm and Rupert Murdoch owns a US$30 million vineyard estate.
One of the wildfires raging across Los Angeles may be targeting Rupert Murdoch's home and vineyard.
Murdoch's Moraga Bel Air winery issued a statement on Twitter Wednesday saying, "We are watching the situation unfold very carefully along with everyone else".
The area surrounding the vineyard, located just northeast of the Getty Center, was evacuated Wednesday by The L.A. Fire Dept. LAFD ordered evacuations along the east side of the 405 freeway just north of Westwood upwards toward the side of the freeway opposite the Skirball Center. Murdoch then bought the property in 2013 for $28.8 million.
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"The Bel Air fire of '61 had a similar footprint. we lost over 500 homes in that fire".
On Moraga Drive on Wednesday, gray smoke surrounded Murdoch's property, but the compound burned. Murdoch and wife Jerry Hall occupy a 7,500-square-foot house on the property.
She said firefighters stepped in to douse the flames with the aid of helicopters and that other storage sheds, the winery itself and the estate's unoccupied house are not damaged.
That fire has already claimed 150 structures but the incident commander, Todd Derum, told the Associated Press that he thinks hundreds of homes have likely been destroyed. 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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