Royal News

Meghan and Harry warning as wildfire ravages national forest ‘near Santa Barbara home’

Santa Barbara is located right next to the beautiful Los Padres National Forest, which includes spectacular mountains along the California coast from Ventura to Monterey and extending inland. On the far side, around a two-hour car drive from Santa Barbara, is Lake Hughes, where a huge wildfire destroyed 12 buildings, damaged six more and injured four people. Fortunately, however, the blaze was able to be contained by firefighters and is unlikely to spread across the rest of the national forest.

That said, Santa Barbara has still experienced huge ash clouds from this fire, as well as one burning right next to the city of Los Angeles.

Astonishing photographs have emerged of fires by the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and red skies over Los Angeles, where the royal couple were living until very recently.

This fire, which is only six percent contained, means many people are evacuating their homes, resigned to the heartbreaking reality that they will likely burn down.

Wildfires have been breaking out across California and in other parts of the US, burning more acres of land than in any year before.

Since the start of 2020, wildfires in California alone have burned over 3.2 million acres of land, about eight times the size of Greater London.

CalFire said yesterday that nearly 16,500 firefighters have been battling 28 major wildfires in the state, which have left 24 people dead and over 4,200 structures destroyed.

For those who have avoided the flames, smoke from the fires has choked the air and kept people inside.

The continued risk of future fires has forced partial power shutoffs for thousands of residents.

This is the backdrop onto which Meghan and Harry are now working from their new Santa Barbara mansion.

The couple have done numerous Zoom calls from their £11million pad and are believed to be working behind the scenes on setting up their new non-profit, Archewell.

However, they were actually warned that the area may be a risky spot in terms of wildfires, mudslides and earthquakes.

In recent years, Santa Barbara has fallen victim to all three.

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Latest figures revealed the region has been hit with 190 quakes in the past year alone ‒ at least one every other day on average ‒ and with a dozen even since the Duke and Duchess moved in.

None of these would have been powerful enough to be felt, however, and Santa Barbara has not taken a massive hit since a 6.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed its historic city centre and killed 11 people in 1925.

However, residents regularly feel tremors and some have claimed another major event is “overdue” in the area, which lies on the San Andreas Fault.

What’s more, Harry and Meghwn were warned they were “sleepwalking into a fire trap” by British billionaire and cola bottling heir Alki David, who lives in Malibu.

He believes recent fires may be the reason the couple managed to buy their new family home for a cut price of $14.7million (£11.2milion) when the asking price a few years ago was a whopping $34million (£25.9million).

Mr David pointed out that the 2018 Thomas Fire, in which 23 people died either from the blaze or from the resulting mudslides, at one point covered 300,000 acres and “ate right into” Montecito.

Harry and Meghan’s new neighbour Ellen Degeneres had to evacuate her mansion at the height of the blaze.

Mr David said: “I love Harry and Meghan and it is only fair they should know about the risks in Montecito.

“I’ll be reaching out to them to warn them.”

He added: “Deadly mudslides come with wildfires. People die.”

Nevertheless, Harry and Meghan still opted to buy their new family home from Russian oligarch Sergrey Grishin.

Mr David said he believes in Harry’s case, “it is hard for someone from England to understand the sheer terror of fires that size… and Buckingham Palace does not usually face threats from nature”.

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