Fire hits upmarket LA suburbs
FIRE has engulfed homes in one of the richest suburbs of Los Angeles, threatening multimillion dollar mansions, shutting down a freeway and forcing thousands to flee.
The house and winery of Aussie media mogul Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp, are among the properties under threat in Bel Air, according to NBC News.
The Skirball fire is the newest of four blazes raging in southern California.
Whipped up by fierce winds, they have caused more than 200,000 people to evacuate to safety.
More than 1700 firefighters are battling the biggest of the infernos in Ventura County – about 45 minutes’ drive from central LA – which threaten more than 12,000 homes across about 26,000 hectares.
More than 200 homes have been destroyed, including in the exclusive Bel Air area.
The Ventura fire forced the closing of the major commuting route the I-405 San Diego Freeway and many smaller roads.
Incredible footage posted on YouTube shows traffic headed in both directions on the freeway with the surrounding hills in the Sepulveda Pass engulfed in flames.
The Getty Museum and many other facilities closed for the duration.
LA mayor Eric Garcetti has declared a state of emergency.
There have been no reports of casualties.
HELPLESS: A bystander, possibly the home’s owner, can only watch as the building is consumed by wildfire in Ventura, California.
APOCALYPTIC: Drivers brave one of the Los Angeles wildfires.