California battles second wave of wildfires

A second wave of wildfires have ignited across southern California, just months after fires devastated the state’s northern wine country in October, with media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s wine estate among those threatened by the flames.

An aerial photo of the latest series of California wildfires posted by astronaut Randy Bresnik Twitter: @AstroKomrade

Fires ignited on Monday throughout southern California and have already burnt through 100,000 acres, with fires still burning in Ventura Counties, including Ojai, to the the east of Los Angeles, on the edge of Santa Barbara wine country.

Nearly 200,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, and 150 structures have been damaged as of Wednesday morning, with California’s governor Jerry Brown declaring a state of emergency.

A number of properties in the Bel Air area been destroyed by the Skirball fire, including Rupert Murdoch’s $30m home, with flames reaching a temperature-controlled wine storage shed on the mogul’s Moraga Vineyards estate on Wednesday.

A map of where fires are currently burning throughout southern California

The estate has been evacuated and the house, and vineyards, appear to have suffered little damage, according to The Guardian.

“We are monitoring the situation as closely as we can and are grateful for the efforts of all the first responders,” Moraga estate posted to its Twitter account. “Some of our neighbors have suffered heavy losses and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.”

At this time, no other wine estates are thought to have been damaged by the fires, however authorities say some 12,000 structures remain threatened by the fire.

Murdoch bought the Moraga estate as a home for when he and wife, Jerry Hall, visit the US west coast.

The 16-acre includes a large, five-bedroom residence as well as a winery and vineyard, which Murdoch uses to produce and sell wine under his Moraga label.

The current series of wildfires follow the most deadliest in California’s history, which ripped through the state’s northern wine country in October claiming the lives of 42 people and scorching 200,000 acres of land.

Insurance costs following the devastation of those fires are now expected to reach $9.4 billion.

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