Celebrities flee as wildfires rage in LA

World | 8 Dec 2017

Local emergency officials warned yesterday of powerful winds that will feed wildfires raging in Los Angeles, threatening multi-million dollar mansions with blazes that have already forced more than 200,000 people to flee.

Authorities issued a "purple" alert - never used before - because of the extreme danger, warning that winds could reach 128 kilometers an hour, severely limiting firefighting efforts.

The flames have swallowed about 80,000 acres in just over a day since the "Thomas" fire, currently the state's largest, broke out, leaving at least one person dead in an area about 45 minutes' drive from downtown LA.

High winds caused another wave of wildfires to erupt on Tuesday night, including one in Los Angeles' affluent Bel-Air neighborhood.

The area battled gridlocked traffic as residents fled ash and smoke that churned over the smoldering hillside in the second-largest US city.

Fire crews worked to save luxury homes threatened by the flames. The "Skirball" quickly grew to engulf about 150 acres around Bel-air, home to celebrities and billionaires including SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and pop superstar Beyonce.

US media reported that the Bel-Air Moraga Estate of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, which contains a vineyard, was threatened by the wildfire.

Singer Lionel Richie canceled a concert to help his ex-wife flee the area, while comedian Chelsea Handler and designer Adrienne Maloof were among celebrities tweeting that they had to evacuate.

Among those evacuated was model Chrissy Teigen, wife of singer John Legend.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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