Skirball Fire Burns Near Rupert Murdoch's Bel-Air Vineyard


Murdoch acquired the Moraga vineyard in 2013.

'The property was evacuated ... but there may be damage to some buildings in the upper vineyard area'.

Mr Murdoch bought the estate in 2013 for $28.8m after seeing an advert for the property in in Wall Street Journal, a U.S. newspaper he owns.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has declared a state of emergency, with the so-called Skirball blaze forcing evacuations of thousands of residents in the exclusive enclave.

More than 1,000 firefighters are trying to battle the blaze but can not enter the area due to the intensity of the fire, county officials said.

Almost 200,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, and 150 structures have been damaged as of Wednesday morning, with California's governor Jerry Brown declaring a state of emergency.

Roxanne Langer at Moraga Estate said a temperature-controlled wine storage shed burned after the fire erupted before dawn Wednesday but was unclear how much wine was lost.

Hundreds of homes have already been destroyed across the Los Angeles metropolitan area and as many as five fires have closed highways, schools and museums. In the posh Bel Air area, wildfire has destroyed "at least four and possibly six homes" and forced evacuation.

Another fire, known as the Rye Fire, threatened more than 5,000 homes and structures north of Los Angeles.

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.

I encourage everyone to heed the advice and orders of local and state officials.

Several other fires are raging across southern California, with the Skirball the latest to ignite due to 50mph wind gusts - which are set to increase to 70mph on Thursday.

Deputy Fire Chief Charles Butler said firefighters and aircraft stopped the growth of the 475-acre blaze in the Bel Air neighbourhood.