Malibu burning: Kardashians, del Toro among celebrities fleeing

(Adds TMZ reports on Caitlyn Jenner, Kim Kardashian homes)

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Kim Kardashian, Alyssa Milano and Melissa Etheridge were among thousands fleeing from their homes in and around Malibu on Friday, as a fast-moving wildfire forced evacuations from the celebrity-packed area.

Celebrity website TMZ reported that the Malibu ridge home of Caitlyn Jenner, America’s best-known transgender person, was destroyed by the flames on Friday. Her publicist could not confirm the status of her house, but told Reuters that Jenner was safe.

TMZ also reported that the fire had reached the grounds of the mansion in nearby Calabasas owned by Kardashian and husband Kanye West. Kardashian posted on social media late on Thursday that she “had just one hour to pack up and evacuate our home.”

The TMZ report could not be confirmed but West tweeted on Friday that “our family is safe and close.”

The entire 12,000-strong population of Malibu, which stretches 27 miles (43.5 km) along the Pacific Ocean in Southern California and up into the Santa Monica mountains, was placed under mandatory evacuation on Friday as the Woolsey fire exploded overnight and jumped a freeway, fire officials said.

Malibu and nearby Calabasas are home to hundreds of celebrities and entertainment executives attracted by its ocean views, rolling hills and large, isolated estates. Current and former residents include Barbra Streisand, Cher, Tom Hanks, Judd Apatow and Britney Spears.

Residents posted pleas on social media for help evacuating horses and other large animals from ranches, while long lines of traffic clogged the only coastal highway in and out of Malibu.

Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro tweeted that he had abandoned his vast “Bleak House” museum collection of fantasy and horror memorabilia, while singer Etheridge said she had moved into a hotel due to the fire.

“Evacuated last night. Bleak House and the collection may be endangered but the gift of life remains,” del Toro, director of Oscar best picture winner “The Shape of Water,” tweeted on Friday.

Milano, a leading force in the #MeToo social movement against sexual harassment, asked for help getting five horses out of the area. “I just had to evacuate my home from the fires. I took my kids, dogs, computer and my Doc Marten boots,” the actress tweeted.

Rainn Wilson, former star of “The Office,” said on Twitter he had been evacuated, and Roma Downey, the wife of “The Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett posted that she was “Pulling out of my driveway with my two big dogs in the back. Malibu fire evacuation.”

The Malibu area is also home to dozens of filming locations. One of them, the Western Town at Paramount Ranch where “Westworld” is filmed, was burned.

“We do not have any details or photos, but it is our understanding that the structures have burned. This area is an active part of the incident and we cannot access it,” a posting on the Santa Monica Mountains Twitter account said on Friday. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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