California fire threatens Rupert Murdoch's house

Flames from a wildfire work their way down a slope behind a home in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday where several celebrity homes are endanger

In tweets on Wednesday, Murdoch's Moraga winery did not address the issue of damage to the property, but stressed its priority was the safety and wellbeing of the neighbourhood's residents and first responders.

'The property was evacuated ... but there may be damage to some buildings in the upper vineyard area'. The University of California at Los Angeles, adjacent to an evacuated area, cancelled classes.

The Associated Press reported that the evacuation orders affected around 200,000 people and that almost 200 homes had already been destroyed.

As Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency due to the fast-moving Skirball fire that began blaze through the outskirts of the city just before 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, many multimillion dollar estates in the surrounding neighborhoods of Bel Air, Brentwood, and Mandeville Canyon, home to the Hollywood elite, are in the path of the fire. "There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds".

In the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, the Creek Fire destroyed at least 30 homes, charred more than 4,800 hectares and forced the evacuation of 2,500 homes.

At this time, no other wine estates are thought to have been damaged by the fires, however authorities say some 12,000 structures remain threatened by the fire.

Heavy winds that have helped the fires spread have also reportedly made it harder to tackle with some aircraft useful to fighting the flames having to be grounded thanks to the strong weather.

The largest and most destructive of the wildfires in southern California has grown to 140 square miles and fire officials have said the worst may be yet to come.

The last time Southern California saw a blaze in December that burned thousands of hectares was in 2006.

"The prospects for containment are not good", Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said on Tuesday.

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