L.A. Wildfires Reach Rupert Murdoch’s Sprawling Estate

The wildfires raging through southern California have gotten personal for media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Parts of Murdoch’s sprawling Los Angeles estate fell victim to wildfires that spread through the ritzy neighbourhood of Bel-Air on Wednesday, according to news reports.

Photographers and videographers were able to catch images of fire spreading around the property.

A building on the vineyard estate of media mogul Rupert Murdoch catches fire during the Skirball fire in Bel Air, a wealthy neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017.

Parts of the estate appeared to have been spared the worst of it. The L.A. Times reported that as of 11 a.m., “vast swaths of Murdoch’s vineyards appeared to be untouched.”

The Skirball fire, as it has been dubbed in the media, forced the temporary closure of one of L.A.’s busiest freeways, Interstate 405, for much of the day Wednesday.

It’s one of a series of wildfires to have spread through southern California over the past three days, scorching 83,000 acres of land and forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes, CNN reports.

Rupert Murdoch's Bel-Air home.

Murdoch, the executive chairman of News Corp. and 20th Century Fox, bought the Bel-Air home — known as the Moraga Vineyards — in 2013 for US$28.8 million, according to Variety. When it was profiled in The New Yorker in the 1990s, it was the only commercial vineyard in Los Angeles.

Besides a 7,700-square-foot main residence, the property features a guest house, a 4,400-square-foot office building and a wine cave.

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.

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Author: Daniel Tencer