Forest fire sets famous movie site on fire, scares celebrities away
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A fast-moving Southern California wildfire has burned down a landmark film site recently used by HBO’s “Westworld” series and forced many celebrities to join the thousands of fleeing flames that have reclaimed houses and caused the total evacuation of the celebrity enclave Malibu.
Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Scott Baio, Rainn Wilson and Guillermo del Toro are among many celebrities forced to evacuate their homes, in some cases trying to hastily arrange transport for their horses. Some, like del Toro and Caitlyn Jenner, didn’t know the fate of their homes, but the wind-blown wildfire destroyed the home of “Dr. Strange” director Scott Derrickson and the historic Paramount Ranch where shows like “Westworld” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman ”were filmed.
The blaze started Thursday evening and by Friday had spread to Malibu and the Pacific Ocean, causing evacuations in Malibu, Calabasas, Agoura Hills and other neighboring areas.
Alyssa Milano said her home was “in danger” amid her attempts to safely evacuate her five horses. The actress finally got the help she needed and tweeted that her horses were safe. “My children are safe. … Anything that has a heartbeat is safe.
Celebrity site TMZ reported that Jenner’s house was set on fire, but the Olympic gold medalist said in an Instagram video that she was unsure “whether the house did or not.” She confirmed she was safe.
Kardashian West posted a video on Instagram of an area on fire with a “Pray for Calabasas” message. She said she returned home, spent an hour packing her bags and was evacuated shortly after.
Gaga also took to social media to let her followers know that she evacuated on Friday morning as she shared a few videos focused on the smoke-filled sky. The singer said she was “sending my prayers” to everyone affected by the fire.
Derrickson said he was safe despite the loss of his home.
Cher is worried about her home in Malibu, a neighborhood where the actress-singer has lived for over 45 years.
“I’m worried about my house, but there is nothing I can do,” she tweeted. “Friends’ houses have burned down. I can’t stand the thought that there is no Malibu. I have had a house in Malibu since 1972.
In addition to dozens of destroyed homes, Paramount Ranch’s “Western Town”, a historic filming location that included a jail, hotel, and living room, had burnt down.
The ranch has served as a filming location for productions ranging from the 1938 “Adventures of Marco Polo” to “The Mentalist” and “Weeds” television shows. The setting in the mountains west of Los Angeles dates back to 1927, when Paramount Pictures rented the ranch and began making films there.
Western Town was specially designed for television productions in the 1950s and was used for westerns such as “The Cisco Kid” and “Dick Powell’s Zane Gray Theater”.
Filming continued for decades even as the ranch changed hands. It was acquired by the National Park Service in 1980 but continued to function as a filming location, serving as the 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 “everyone affected by these horrific fires.”
When not in use for filming, visitors can stroll through Western Town on a hike or horseback ride.
Actor James Woods has asked nearly 2 million of his Twitter followers to use the hashtag #CampFireJamesWoods to help share the names of those missing in another wildfire in Northern California that has left five dead .
He also tweeted about resources for horse owners to evacuate their animals from the Southern California fire, and called Milano’s report that his family and horses had been evacuated “good news.”
Woods was not among the displaced – he tweeted that he was on the east coast.
Associated Press writer John Antczak contributed reporting from Los Angeles.