The raging wildfires that are consuming everything in their path across California are feeding on smaller suburban homes and the gargantuan mansions of celebrities alike, according to online reports. Famous international pop stars like Lady Gaga and respected actors like Martin Sheen are joining tens of thousands of everyday Californians in the evacuation of homes squarely in the path of the hungrily encroaching flames.
Wildfires are a natural process in the environment, with native plant and animal species having adapted to them over millions of years, but the unprecedented frequency and severity of blazes caused by human activity is decimating ecosystems across the Western coast. Nowhere have the fervid flames drawn greater attention than California, where Governor Jerry Brown is requesting a “major disaster declaration” from President Donald Trump, according to CBS News.
At least 31 lives have been snuffed out by the flame’s ceaseless crackling, with the so-called “Camp Fire” having literally destroyed entire communities, such as the former city of Paradise. The sheer scale of the fires has complicated the brutally tough work of the volunteers and law enforcement officials battling the flames, with thousands of Americans across the nation struggling to find information on their loved ones.
Even famous celebrities like Martin Sheen are taking to the airwaves to remind their loved ones that they’re unharmed and to raise awareness about the maelstrom of flames that shows no sign of abating.
“We’re just fine,” Sheen told a local FOX affiliate after a nearby blaze consumed his mansion.
The entire city of Malibu has been evacuated, causing a surge of viral celebrity postings on social media that have helped raise awareness about the flames. Unlike Hollywood, where companies have media liability insurance, most of that region will cost millions to repair. The catastrophic economic and human costs of the flames cannot yet be tallied, as they still rage, but nowhere is the devastation more clearly visible right now than the former city of Paradise, where over 6,700 structures were burnt to ash nearly overnight.
President Trump issued an emergency declaration to provide federal funds to the three counties most impacted by the flames. Such funding will be needed after the flames have retreated and the arduous toil of rebuilding begins; as local residents have noted, there’s effectively nothing left of the lives they enjoyed before the howling flames came.
“They were going off like bombs,” local resident Karen Auday told FOX, describing the exploding propane tanks that were leveling homes in her town as she fled for her life.