Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch threatened by growing wildfire outside of Santa Barbara (2024)

Video from outside the Lake Fire in Santa Barbara County

A wildfire burning in the hills and mountains of Santa Barbara County threatened homes and businesses, including the former estate of Michael Jackson.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A wildfire burning in the hills and mountains of Santa Barbara County is threatening homes and businesses including the former estate of Michael Jackson, which was known as Neverland Ranch.

According to CAL FIRE, the Lake Fire has burned more than 18,000 acres since it began on July 5 and is less than ten percent contained.

The blaze is mostly burning in rural areas around the Los Padres National Forest, but a significant drive to the south or west could force flames into more populated communities.

"As we’re looking at the fire, we’re trying to go direct and directly on the fire line. If we can’t do it because of the steep, rugged terrain, we’ll go indirect. But we’re also looking way ahead of the fire as well," Anthony Stornetta, incident commander with Santa Barbara County Fire, stated.

CALIFORNIA’S EARLY EXPLOSIVE WILDFIRE SEASON IS NEARLY 1,500% AHEAD OF LAST YEAR

A record-breaking heat wave across the West, coupled with increasingly dry conditions, has fueled the growth of several major fires.

"A heat wave this intense, this long, has not been experienced in this region in 20 years,"National Weather Service meteorologists said.

Fortunately, none of the Golden State is currently experiencing drought conditions, but dry vegetation combined with the heat is making firefighting conditions challenging.

"We’re still experiencing 90-degree temperatures at midnight. So, where the fire’s at, it’s still can spot ahead of itself. It can still move very rapidly at night," Stornetta stated.

Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch threatened by growing wildfire outside of Santa Barbara (3)

Heat dome across the West

(FOX Weather)

During a weekend update, first responders did not say how close flames were to structures, but photos showed smoke was visible from the entrance of the Sycamore Valley Ranch, Jackson’s former property.

The singer bought the 2,600-acre property in 1987 and renamed the estate "Neverland Ranch" after the fictional "Neverland" in the Peter Pan fairy tale.

The property once housed amusem*nt park rides, a petting zoo and other entertainment, but it is unclear what the current owners plan to do with the multi-million-dollar property.

Investigators have also not determined what sparked the blaze and have not ruled out human causes.

According to CAL FIRE, there have been 54 arson-related arrests so far this year.

  • Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch threatened by growing wildfire outside of Santa Barbara (4)

    Image 1 of 4

    Firefighters gather along Figueroa Mountain as they continue to fight the Lake Fire, in Santa Barbara County, California on July 7, 2024. The fire, which began late July 5 near Zaca Lake, has spread to over 13,000 acres (5,260 hectares) over the weekend in Santa Barbara County, prompting evacuation warnings, according to county officials. (DANIEL DREIFUSS/AFP via Getty Images)

  • Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch threatened by growing wildfire outside of Santa Barbara (5)

    Image 2 of 4

    Smoke hangs 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. The fire which began late July 5 near Zaca Lake has spread to over 16,000 acres in Santa Barbara County, prompting evacuation warnings, according to county officials. (Photo by DANIEL DREIFUSS/AFP via Getty Images)

  • Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch threatened by growing wildfire outside of Santa Barbara (6)

    Image 3 of 4

    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. The fire which began late July 5 near Zaca Lake has spread to over 16,000 acres (6,500 hectares) in Santa Barbara County, prompting evacuation warnings, according to county officials. (Photo DANIEL DREIFUSS/AFP via Getty Images)

  • Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch threatened by growing wildfire outside of Santa Barbara (7)

    Image 4 of 4

    LOS OLIVAS, SANTA YNEZ, CA - MAY 2004: Michael Jackson ranch, he named the property after Neverland, the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up. Michael's first encounter with the ranch came when he visited Paul McCartney, who was staying there during their filming of the "Say Say Say" video. According to La Toya Jackson, Michael expressed interest to her in someday owning the property at that time in May 2004 in Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, California (Photo Paul Harris/Getty Images) (Paul Harris/Getty Images)

Firefighters battling numerous wildfires across Golden State

The Lake Fire is not the only wildfire firefighters are working to contain in the Golden State.

According to CAL FIRE, there are five other fires that have grown to at least 1,000 acres or larger that firefighters are working to contain.

Many of these fires are in rural areas but have resulted in the evacuations of campgrounds, cabins and other properties.

The second-largest blaze, the Basin Fire, is burning in the Sierra National Forest and has consumed more than 14,000 acres.

Parts of the forest have been closed due to safety concerns, although there have been no reports of structures damaged or destroyed by the flames.

Authorities noted ground temperatures reached at least 112 degrees, resulting in several firefighters suffering heat-related illnesses due to the extreme conditions.

Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch threatened by growing wildfire outside of Santa Barbara (2024)

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