Wildfires destroy Oprah's Maui estate alongwith other high-profile homes | World News - Hindustan Times
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Wildfire engulfs Oprah's Maui Estate, homes of other Hollywood icons at risk too in Maui, Hawaii

Aug 11, 2023 06:45 AM IST

Maui wildfires destroy iconic restaurant owned by Mick Fleetwood and threatened Jeff Bezos, and Oprah Winfrey's properties but are reportedly safe.

Maui, the paradise island in Hawaii, has been ravaged by fast-moving wildfires that have claimed the lives of 36 people, injured several, and destroyed hundreds of buildings, some of which are cultural and historic.

An aerial image taken on August 10, 2023 shows destroyed homes and buildings burned to the ground in Lahaina in the aftermath of wildfires in western Maui, Hawaii. At least 36 people have died after a fast-moving wildfire turned Lahaina to ashes, officials said August 9, 2023 as visitors asked to leave the island of Maui found themselves stranded at the airport. The fires began burning early August 8, scorching thousands of acres and putting homes, businesses and 35,000 lives at risk on Maui, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said in a statement. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP)(AFP)
An aerial image taken on August 10, 2023 shows destroyed homes and buildings burned to the ground in Lahaina in the aftermath of wildfires in western Maui, Hawaii. At least 36 people have died after a fast-moving wildfire turned Lahaina to ashes, officials said August 9, 2023 as visitors asked to leave the island of Maui found themselves stranded at the airport. The fires began burning early August 8, scorching thousands of acres and putting homes, businesses and 35,000 lives at risk on Maui, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said in a statement. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP)(AFP)

One of the casualties of the inferno is Fleetwood’s on Front Street, a restaurant owned by British rock legend Mick Fleetwood.

The 76-year-old co-founder of Fleetwood Mac expressed his sorrow and solidarity with the Maui community on Facebook late Wednesday.

“This is a devastating moment for Maui, and many are suffering unimaginable loss,” he wrote.

“Fleetwood’s on Front Street has been lost and while we are heartbroken, our main priority is the safety of our dear staff and team members.”

The restaurant was located in Lahaina, a historic town with a population of about 12,000 that has borne the brunt of the fire damage.

Lahaina has been Fleetwood’s “home” for decades.

ALSO READ| Wildfire ravages Lahaina, Maui: before and after photos show the devastation

Some residents of the town have resorted to jumping into the water to escape the flames, while others have described the scene as “an apocalypse.”

Maui has long attracted rock stars, Hollywood stars, and business moguls with its stunning scenery and laid-back lifestyle. Among them are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, actor Clint Eastwood, rocker Steven Tyler, and former President Barack Obama.

Bezos, 59, bought a 14-acre estate near Le Perouse Bay for $78 million in 2021. The estate is surrounded by thousands of acres of dormant lava fields in the southwest of the island, which seems to be less affected by the fires than other areas. Three fires were still burning as of Thursday.

Winfrey, 69, has been living part-time in Maui for more than 15 years. She owns various properties on the island, including 870 acres of land in Kula that she purchased for $6.6 million in February.

Kula is an area in central Maui, between the South Maui and Upcountry wildfires.

Fire officials told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that at least two homes had been destroyed in Kula and some 80 people had been evacuated from 40 homes.

Winfrey also owns 1,200 acres elsewhere on the island, including in Hana and near Mount Haleakala. Both areas are relatively far from the fires. Winfrey’s farmhouse getaway on the slopes of Mount Haleakala, a 10,000-foot volcanic peak, features a wraparound porch that reminds her of her rural upbringing.

“I love, love, love my house,” Winfrey told Oprah.com in 2006.

“It’s a gem, so sweet and exquisite. Such a real, normal house. It feels like a nice blanket … A lovely and soft cashmere one.”

Eastwood, 93, is another longtime Maui resident. He has reportedly lived on the island part-time since the late 1970s in Kapalua, a stretch along the northwest coast less than 10 miles from Lahaina.

Tyler, 75, is said to have a waterfront mansion on a nature preserve in Wailea that he bought for $4.8 million in 2012. Wailea is partly close to the South Maui fire, but some resorts in the southwest Maui hotspot – including the Four Seasons Wailea, where “The White Lotus” was filmed – are still open for business.

Other famous Maui residents reportedly include actors Jim Carrey, Owen Wilson, and Woody Harrelson.

Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar also has a bar and restaurant in Kahului, near Maui’s main airport, which remains operational as tourists and residents flee the island.

ALSO READ| Apocalyptic images and video of Hawaii's Lahaina town destroyed by fire, go viral

Obama, who was born in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, said he was saddened by the widespread devastation in Maui.

“It’s tough to see some of the images coming out of Hawai’i — a place that’s so special to so many of us,” Obama wrote on social media Wednesday. “Michelle and I are thinking of everyone who has lost a loved one or whose life has been turned upside down.”

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