Stars’ Homes Destroyed & Threatened By Montecito Fire
First Published: November 14, 2008 3:52 PM EST Credit: Getty Images
MONTECITO, Calif. -- As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County Friday, many of Hollywood’s stars watched as the raging fires threatened and destroyed their homes and resorts that they frequent.
Nestled north of Los Angeles in the foothills near Santa Barbara, Montecito is a second home to Hollywood celebrities like Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner, Christopher Lloyd, Dennis Franz, Jonathan Winters and Oprah.
Oprah talked about the fire on her show Friday, telling her studio audience, “The first thing I want to talk about is the raging fire burning right now in my neighborhood. The fire is about two miles from my house.”
“I called my house and security said you couldn’t smell. The wind was moving in a different direction, I said, ‘How are the dogs? Are they going crazy because of the smoke?’ And he said, ‘The wind’s going in a different direction,’” she continued.
Oprah’s best friend, Gayle King, who was also on Friday’s show, asked Oprah what she would have done if she had been there — Oprah was already prepared for such an event.
“I don’t have kids, so the most important thing for me would be my dogs,” Oprah said. “So, we already had a plan for getting the dogs out and going to the Four Seasons in Westlake because they take dogs.”
Luckily, the talk show host’s Montecito home has not been affected. A rep for Oprah told Access Hollywood in a statement, “At this point, Oprah Winfrey’s property has not been affected by the fire.”
Oprah talked to her Montecito neighbor, Rob Lowe, on the phone during her show, who was not so lucky. Rob revealed his close brush with the inferno.
“My wife called and said Montecito is on fire get out. And I thought she was kidding,” he told Oprah. “We got in the car, pulled out of the driveway and the entire mountain behind was flames 200 feet high — shooting into the air. Embers were raining down, they were in our shirts and in our hair, and the wind was easily 70 mile per hour… it was Armageddon!”
And it wasn’t just Rob’s home that was in danger.
“I watched 12 to 13 houses burn to the ground. It was so tragic, it was so sad,” he added. “It’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”
Oprah expressed her concern for her friends and neighbors in the area, saying, “All our prayers are with all the folks and neighbors in Santa Barbara. Hope you’re well today. And those of you who lost your homes, our hearts go out to you.”
Access has also learned that Christopher Lloyd, from “Back To the Future,” lost his home to the fire. Lloyd’s realtor told Access she saw the actor’s 4400 sq. foot home engulfed in flames on the news. Fortunately, the actor is safe in Vancouver shooting a film.
Acting legend Jonathan Winters and his wife were forced to evacuate their home last night. His daughter-in-law told Access the couple is safe and so far their home has been spared in the blaze.
Tennis legend Jimmy Conners, who also owns a home in Montecito, told Access that he’s packed and ready to evacuate.
San Ysidro Ranch, where many stars go to stay, is also being threatened. The ranch has an impressive star-studded history, with guests that have included: John and Jackie Kennedy, Julia Roberts, Paul McCartney and Gwyneth Paltrow.
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