BEAUTIFUL SANTA BARBARA UNDER FIRE

Beautiful Santa Barbara, where we wrote our screenplay HAIRS, is now under threat from wildfires destroying southern California.

We are praying for the marvellous Jarvaise family who took us into their wonderful artistic compound, which is now in line of the fire.

Also in the fire zone is Irish scientist Eoghan Dillon – one of the brainiest and funniest men to ever come out from Dublin.

In nearby Montecito, Oprah Winfrey has said that winds are creating a ‘perfect storm of bad’ as massive wildfires bear down on her celebrity enclave.

Santa Barbara County issued new evacuation orders on Saturday in Montecito and other communities in the area, as winds pushed the fire close to this most beautiful area.

The Thomas Fire, now the third largest in California history, has now burned more than 400 square miles and is just 40 per cent contained.

According to USA Today,  the fire was so strong Saturday that firefighters had to stand down from the front lines.

Public information officer Joe Rosa said: ‘The smoke is so thick in places, and the winds so strong and the fire’s behavior so erratic, it’s just not safe for us to have crews staying in the fire area.’

The mandatory evacuation zone is now 17 miles long and up to five miles wide, extending from coastal mountains northwest of Los Angeles to the ocean.

Winds in the foothill area are hitting around 30 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph.

Actor Rob Lowe, who also lives in the area posted an Instagram photo of his house on Saturday morning with a fierce inferno whipping the hills behind it. ‘Pray for Santa Barbara,’ he wrote.

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and one of the thousands of firefighters on the lines was killed Thursday. He was the second fatality in the Thomas blaze.

The inferno began December 4 in Ventura County and spread into Santa Barbara County, destroying more than 970 homes and other structures.

The new voluntary evacuation zone affects as many as 33,000 people and extends into downtown Santa Barbara, and now includes the Santa Barbara Zoo.

‘Some animals are going into crates and being staged for possible evacuation to predetermined locations. Staff has training and transportation. We DO NOT need public assistance. Do not come to the Zoo. Stay safe,’ the zoo said in a statement on Saturday morning.

The northbound lanes of US Highway 101, coming up the coast from Los Angeles, were closed for a few hours south of Santa Barbara, with cars stopped on the freeway.

Firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, was the second person to died in the fire. He died Thursday but authorities have not yet released the circumstances of his death.

Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula, was evacuating earlier this month when he died in a car crash.

An army of 8,300 firefighters, 400 fire trucks, 29 helicopters and 77 bulldozers are fighting the blaze.

Along with Oprah Winfrey and Rob Lowe, celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Barrymore, Jeff Bridges, Jane Seymor and Patrick Stewart own or have owned properties in the area.

‘It is right above the homes,’ fire spokesman Jude Olivas said.