SWITZERLAND, OCTOBER 30 – A wildfire swept through the star-studded hills of Los Angeles on Monday, destroying several homes and forcing basketball star LeBron James, Arnold Swarzenegger, and thousands of others to flee.
The flames that roared up a steep hillside near the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles’ Brentwood district illustrated the danger the state faces as high winds batter both ends of California and threaten to turn any spark into a devastating inferno.
“Man these LA (fires) are no joke,” James tweeted, the Los Angeles Lakers star using an emoji for the word “fires”, and adding: “Crazy night.”
Man these LA 🔥 aren’t no joke. Had to emergency evacuate my house and I’ve been driving around with my family trying to get rooms. No luck so far! 🤦🏾♂️
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 28, 2019
The Hollywood premiere of actor and former state governor Schwarzenegger’s Terminator: Dark Fate was cancelled on Monday night.
Others who own homes in the evacuation zone include Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat running for president, who was not home at the time, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, and rapper and producer Dr Dre.
Anxious residents made their way down steep hillsides in the middle of the night in Range Rovers, Teslas and Maseratis.
They left behind homes decorated for Halloween — skeletons hanging from homes, goblins sitting on front steps, cobwebs draped over bushes — as a plume of smoke glowed like a giant pumpkin.
The evacuation area extended west into Pacific Palisades, encompassing some of the most exclusive real estate in California, where celebrities and wealthy professionals live in estates nestled in canyons or on ridge-top retreats that cost tens of millions of dollars but are surrounded by tinder-dry vegetation.
At least eight homes were destroyed and six damaged in the LA-area blaze, fire officials said. Meanwhile, a blaze in Northern California wine country has exploded in size. No deaths from either blaze were reported.
Some 2.2 million people were without electricity after California’s biggest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), shut it off over the weekend in the northern part of the state to prevent its equipment from sparking blazes during windy weather.
PG&E warned more deliberate blackouts were possible in the coming days because another round of strong winds is expected.