Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in path of Lake Fire as it burns more nearly 19,000 acres in Santa Barbara County

July 8, 2024
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Fire danger increased as triple digit heat scorches Southern California


Fire danger increased as triple digit heat scorches Southern California

02:47

Firefighters are continuing an uphill battle in Santa Barbara County, where the Lake Fire swelled to nearly 19,000 acres over the weekend. 

The blaze was first reported on Friday at around 3:45 p.m. near Zaca Lake and Saint Lucia Road, according to Cal Fire

After more than 48 hours, the fire has consumed 18,995 acres and remains just 8% contained with more than 600 firefighters currently engaged in the firefight. On top of ground units, 10 helicopters and numerous other water-dropping aircraft are assisting with the ongoing suppression efforts. 

Not only are they dealing with exceedingly dry conditions, crews are also forced to work with the sweltering heat wave that has swathed most of Southern California in triple degree temperatures over the weekend. 

So far one structure has been damaged and one injury has been reported, Cal Fire said. Among the homes threatened by the rapidly spreading flames is Michael Jackson’s former residence, the famed Neverland Ranch, located in the 5000 block of Figueroa Mountain Road. He owned the 2,700-acre property from 1988 until his death in 2009.

An evacuation order was issued late Saturday evening for Figueroa Mountain Road to Sawmill Basin, including Tunnel Road and the Figueroa Campground. 

US-FIRE-WEATHER-ENVIRONMENT
A fire truck is seen near the entrance to Neverland Ranch, former home of late US singer Michael Jackson, as the Lake Fire continues to burn in the Los Padres National Forest, in Los Olivos, California, on July 7, 2024.

DANIEL DREIFUSS/AFP via Getty Images


Additionally, evacuation warnings have also been issued for Figueroa Mountain Road to Chamberlin Ranch and Zaca Lake Road, Foxen Canyon Road and the area south of the Sisquoc River, firefighters said. 

It remains unclear what sparked the massive fire, which is now the second largest reported in California since the start of 2024.  

The Lake Fire is one of several large wildfires currently burning in California. The Thompson Fire, currently raging in Butte County near Chico, has torched more than a dozen homes, while the Basin Fire near Fresno has engulfed more than 14,000 acres. 

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