Chrissy Teigen, Maria Shriver among those evacuating their homes amid California wildfires

Chrissy Teigen, Maria Shriver among those evacuating their homes amid California wildfires

Cali fire
Firefighters work to extinguish the Thomas Fire as it burns past the 101 Highway towards the Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura, California, Dec 7, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Kyle Grillot)

LOS ANGELES: Chrissy Teigen, wife of singer John Legend, was among the 230,000 people forced from their homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties as wildfires continued to ravage the area on Thursday (Dec 7).

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

The Skirball fire ignited Wednesday morning and quickly grew to engulf about 60 hectares around the district, home to celebrities and billionaires including SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and pop superstar Beyonce.

Police knocked on doors and used loudspeakers to make sure everybody had left their mansions.

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

The singer Lionel Richie cancelled a concert to help his ex-wife flee the area, while comedian Chelsea Handler, designer Adrienne Maloof and former first lady of California Maria Shriver were among celebrities tweeting that they had to evacuate.

 At least 4,000 firefighters were deployed across the entire fire zone, including on the scene of the "Rye" blaze - which had grown to 2,830 hectares in the Santa Clarita area - as well as the "Creek" fire north of downtown Los Angeles that had grown to more than 4,450 hectares.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the area on Tuesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had released funds for relief services.

US President Donald Trump tweeted a message of "thoughts and prayers" to California as it nears the end of its deadliest year ever for wildfires.

Source: AFP/CNA/zl