California Sand Fire Destroys Popular Movie, TV Filming Location
Sable Ranch in Santa Clarita has been the site of various TV and film shoots, including '24,' 'The A-Team,' 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights,' 'Maverick,' 'Wipeout' and 'The Bells of Coronado.'
The Los Angeles County Fire Department says about 10,000 homes have been evacuated as crews protect mountain and canyon communities from a ferocious wildfire that's destroyed 18 houses and a popular filming location. Despite reports that Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve was being evacuated, Hedren's publicist Harlan Boll tells THR, it is not yet necessary for the actress or the animals to evacuate the property.
Officials said late Sunday that the so-called Sand Fire had burned through at least 51 square miles of brush north of Los Angeles — but that number was expected to jump Monday when better assessment was done at daylight. It's just 10 percent contained. Helicopters made water drops through the night.
The Fire Department's incident web page says about 20,000 residents have been ordered from their homes. New evacuations were put in place Sunday as the blaze roared to the northeast through Angeles National Forest toward the city of Acton. Metrolink commuter rail service has been canceled between the Acton, Palmdale and Lancaster stations.
The so-called Sand Fire that has destroyed at least 18 homes in northern Los Angeles County gained ferocious new power Sunday, two days after it broke out, sending so much smoke in the air that planes making drops on it had to be grounded for part of the afternoon.
The fire also destroyed film sets at Sable Ranch in Santa Clarita, which has Old West-style buildings used for movie locations.
Sable Ranch owner Derek Hunt told NBC Los Angeles: "Unfortunately you can only do so much when it was a horrific fire storm, I guess you can say as it came down there on us. But at some point you know you're defeated and you have to step back and save what you can."
The ranch has been the site of various TV and film shoots, including 24, The A-Team, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Maverick, Wipeout and The Bells of Coronado.
Hedren is currently prepared to evacuate her home of 40 years, the Shambala Preserve, when necessary. The Shambala Preserve is the wildlife preserve that Hedren founded in 1983 after she starred in the film Roar; the 86-year-old actress still runs the preserve, which previously was in danger of being destroyed in the 2009 Station Fire.
Hedren's daughter, Melanie Griffith, took to Twitter on Sunday to ask for prayers from her followers as the fire was blazing:
Mom is safe! Shambala is safe. Now sending love and thanks to all the firefighters who saved her and the cats....— Melanie Griffith (@MelanieGriffith) July 25, 2016
The Southern California blaze has blackened more than 34 square miles of brush on ridgelines near the city of Santa Clarita, and authorities found a burned body in a car. No new measurements were available late Sunday, but officials said the fire might now be double that size.
"For this time of year, it's the most extreme fire behavior I've seen in my 32-year career," County fire Chief Daryl Osby said.
Planes were unable to make drops over the fire for a long stretch of the afternoon before resuming for a few hours before dusk. Helicopters released retardant around the perimeter of the fire all day and would continue into the night.
"The fire's just doing what it wants right now," U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy said. "We have to stick back, let it do what it wants to and attack it where we can."
Residents of thousands of homes were evacuated, as shifting winds were pushing flames northeast through Angeles National Forest, authorities said.
The fire has ripped through brush withered by days of 100-degree temperatures and years of drought.
"It started consuming houses that were non-defendable," Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief John Tripp said, describing the flames as charging through terrain "like a freight train."
More than 1,600 firefighters were battling the flames that sent up a huge plume of smoke visible across the region.
The body of a man was discovered Saturday in a burned sedan outside a home in the fire zone. Los Angeles County sheriff's officials are investigating the death.
Meanwhile, about 300 miles up the coast, a wildfire outside the scenic Big Sur region on California's Central Coast has grown to more than 23 square miles as the fire charged uphill in an area that's difficult to access.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says no one has been injured, but the fire has destroyed six homes and forced evacuations. The fire is threatening 1,650 mountain homes in the region.
More than 1,300 personnel are battling the blaze that's mostly burning out of control.
Fire officials advised residents of nearby communities to be prepared to leave immediately if a voluntary or mandatory evacuation order is issued. An evacuation center is open at a school in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
July 25, 4:50 p.m.: Updated with information that Shambala Preserve has not been evacuated.