A raging wildfire caused chaos for many Hollywood insiders Wednesday, and former Today show host Katie Couric tweeted terrifying video from the heart of the flames.
The 475-acre plus Skirball blaze, one of many burning in Southern California, struck the exclusive celebrity enclave of Bel-Air and threatened nearby areas where numerous stars reside.
Katie tweeted the awe-inspiring video from the pre-dawn hours on Wednesday as flames licked close to a heavily traveled freeway. It was unclear who actually shot the footage.
Just saw this terrifying video from the 405 Freeway this morning. Praying for all the people in Los Angeles and hoping everyone stays safe. Thank you to the brave firefighters who are saving lives! #wildfire #LAfire #skirballfire #staysafe https://t.co/YwUKQLJVml pic.twitter.com/TAtTt7Khxw
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) December 6, 2017
At least four homes had been destroyed by the flames as of Wednesday evening, according to Los Angeles television station KABC.
Stars including Chelsea Handler and Lea Michele said they were forced to evacuate their homes, and by Wednesday afternoon, the fire had advanced on billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch's $30 million Bel-Air vineyard estate.
Murdoch told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday that he believed that "the winery and house are still intact" but that some buildings in the vineyard area may have been damaged.
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He added, "We are monitoring the situation as closely as we can and are grateful to the efforts of all first responders. Some of our neighbors have suffered heavy losses and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time."
Lea Michele said that she had to "throw her cat in a bag" to escape the fire, telling Entertainment Tonight, "You have to kind of just take the things that mean the most to you and be OK to roll with whatever."
"As long as I have my cat, I literally don't care about anything else. Nothing else matters. So, that was it. I'm shaking still," Lea said of the terrifying experience.
KABC reporter Leslie Lopez tweeted astounding aerial video of the fire inching toward the world-famous Getty Center museum.
The footage showed flames shooting from the hills early Wednesday morning as cars snaked across the nearby 405 Freeway.
Lopez reported that officials had just closed the busy highway to traffic.
#SkirballFire UPDATE: The 405 Fwy is now CLOSED in both directions between the 101 Fwy and 10 Fwy as the 50-acre brush fire near the Getty Center continues to rage. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Bel Air as the fire approaches homes in the area. pic.twitter.com/q44oUwJpOT
— Leslie Lopez (@abc7leslielopez) 6 December 2017
The fast-moving blaze was spurred on by Los Angeles' notorious Santa Ana winds, which were expected to continue blowing until Friday, meaning that as of Wednesday evening, the fires were unlikely to be contained anytime soon.
On Tuesday, the TV shows Westworld and S.W.A.T. were forced to shut down production when another fire encroached, and as of Wednesday, both productions were still shut down.
Everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to Eva Longoria tweeted their sadness about the situation.
Eva tweeted that while she was in New York, her brother was forced to evacuate her home, writing, "This is literally my exit off the freeway. Please stop what you’re doing a say a quick prayer that this fire and all the fires in so cal right now get contained immediately."
Guys! This is what’s happening in California right now. Please pray for everyone in these areas and for our brave fire fighters helping fight this tragedy. This pic was posted by my friend @anjelahjohnson and my heart sank! Everyone in these areas please EVACUATE!! #California #Fires #Repost @anjelahjohnson ・・・ I’m in NYC. My brother is getting ready to evacuate my house. This is literally my exit off the freeway. Please stop what you’re doing a say a quick prayer that this fire and all the fires in so cal right now get contained immediately. Pray for the firefighters. 💔💔💔🙏🏽
Ellen wrote, "If you live anywhere in Southern California, your life is being impacted by the fires today."
If you live anywhere in Southern California, your life is being impacted by the fires today. Please be careful and make room for the firefighters. They are our heroes. #SkirballFire
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 6, 2017
Maria Shriver sent her thoughts to the firefighters, and wrote, "I've had many friends who have had to evacuate."
Thinking of all of my Southern California neighbors affected by the fires. I've had many friends who have had to evacuate. So grateful for our firefighters on the front lines. Please stay safe! https://t.co/LbRfSqIBdl
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) December 6, 2017
Update: the fire was later reportedly determined to have been started by a cooking fire at a homeless encampment.