Monday, 11 December, 2017

Fire damages Rupert Murdoch estate

A fire crew passes a burning home in Ventura
Credit MIKE BLAKE REUTERS A fire crew passes a burning home in Ventura Credit MIKE BLAKE REUTERS
Stacy Diaz | 07 December, 2017, 09:12

But it's the smaller (comparatively) of the blazes that's now torching its way through the exclusive Bel-Air region, threatening scores of celebrity homes including that of News Corp boss and noted climate change denier, Rupert Murdoch.

Mr Murdoch's Moraga Bel Air winery issued a statement on Twitter on Wednesday saying, "We are watching the situation unfold very carefully along with everyone else". 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. The estate is located near the 405 freeway, which authorities have closed.

Video from a local NBC News report on Wednesday showed flames at what the newscaster said was believed to be the 21st Century Fox mogul's home.

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. "This is the $30-million house and vineyard property that is owned by Rupert Murdoch", NBC Los Angeles reported. Several homes in the Bel-Air neighborhood had caught fire, Hollywood Life reported.

Moraga Estate, acquired in 2013 for US$28.8 million, is squarely in the evacuation zone.

The fire had reached 150 acres by 9:40 a.m. but was expected to grow due to gusting, 25-mph Santa Ana winds.

On Wednesday firefighters managed to stop the spread of a wildfire that has destroyed homes near the world-famous Getty museum in Los Angeles. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.

Major evacuations have taken place as a result of the various blazes north of Los Angeles County, which have destroyed more than 85 square miles of land.