UPDATE, with S.W.A.T returning: CBS drama series S.W.A.T. resumed production Thursday in Santa Clarita after being sidelines for almost two days because of the Rye fire in the area. The fire, most recently at 7,000 acres, has been 15% contained. Cast and crews of S.W.A.T. and HBO’s Westworld were sent home Tuesday when the fire started ravaging the area. Westworld returned to production on Wednesday,
PREVIOUS, Wednesday PM: Production on CBS’ freshman drama S.W.A.T. has been suspended for a second day due to a wildfire still burning in the Santa Clarita Valley in northern Los Angeles. The Rye Fire, which started yesterday, shuttered Santa Clarita Studios in Valencia near Magic Mountain, where S.W.A.T. was the only scheduled shoot at the facility.
Production on HBO’s Westworld, now shooting Season 2 at the Melody Ranch in Newhall, also was shuttered yesterday but it set to restart today. “Westworld is currently scheduled to resume shooting today,” HBO issued a statement this morning. “The production will have a Fire Safety Officer on set to monitor conditions throughout the day.”
As of 8 AM PT, the city of Santa Clarita said that 7,000 acres have burned in the Rye Fire with only 5% containment, and 775 firefighters are on the scene. The 5 Freeway connectors to State Route 126 which is just above Magic Mountain reopened overnight after being shut down when the fire broke out yesterday afternoon. The famed amusement park is closed until Saturday.
The fire is one of several burning in Southern California thanks to strong Santa Ana winds that are expected to last at least through Friday. The latest fire broke out early this morning near the Getty Center, destroying homes and forcing evacuations in the affluent Bel Air and Holmby Hills neighborhoods and closing a swath of the key 405 Freeway artery.
PREVIOUS, Monday, 1:45 PM: As wildfires fueled by strong and persistent Santa Ana winds are ravaging Southern California, production has been halted on a pair of drama series: CBS’ S.W.A.T. and HBO’s Westworld.
Dozens of homes have burned, schools are closed, and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated. Local TV channels are wall-to-wall with coverage of the devastation as smoke descended over a wide area.
The local Los Angeles stations have stayed on fire coverage since their morning shows, knocking off morning programming up and down the dial.
The freshman crime drama S.W.A.T. films at Santa Clarita Studios in Valenica. The 1,000-acre Rye Fire has prompted the closure of the 5 Freeway in both directions. It also has gotten close to S.W.A.T. stages, and everyone from the show was sent home for the day as a precaution. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared state of emergency for Ventura County.
“Production of @swatcbs has been suspended for the day due to wildfires and unsafe air near our stages,” S.W.A.T. writers tweeted. “Safety of cast and crew come first. Prayers to all affected by these fires.” The message was retweeted by co-star Stephanie Sigman with a message to those affected by the fires.
Meanwhile, HBO said in a statement to Deadline: “Due to nearby wildfires, Westworld stopped production earlier today and will resume filming as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
The Rye Fire flared up near Newhall Ranch Road north of the San Fernando Valley around 10 AM. The 5 Freeway closure is creating traffic jams on the major roads. The wind-whipped wildfire first was reported to be around 5 acres but quickly grew to 500-plus. As of press time, local media has reported it has jumped Newhall Ranch Road, threatening a power station, a shopping center and other structures.
When reached this morning via phone, a Santa Clarita Studios employee said the facility’s Internet was down, apparently because of the fire, which could be seen from the studio offices. The employee told Deadline that S.W.A.T. was the only show scheduled to shoot today at the Valencia facility, which features 16 sound and production offices and has hosted shoots for movies including A Wrinkle in Time, Fast 7 and Inception, and TV series including CSI, Hulu’s Shut Eye and Netflix’s Atypical and Santa Clarita Diet, among others.
Two other fires also are scorching Southern California today. The Thomas Fire in Ventura is especially disastrous, having consumed more than 50,000 acres since it started Monday night. At least 150 structures including many homes have been lost as the fire continues to roar through a densely populated area of the city, and a local mental health facility was burned to the ground. Officials say there are more than 1,000 firefighters on the scene but there is zero containment.
Governor Jerry Brown has declared state of emergency for Ventura County.
“Unbelievable loss,” Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Richard Macklin told KTLA-TV reporter John Fenoglio. “We’re not gonna lie: We’re not able to stop this fire. … We’re in a wind-driven fire event.”
The howling winds are keeping many airborne firefighting resources grounded, along with some news helicopters. But Macklin said there are a few water-dropping helicopters on the scene in Ventura.
Southeast of there is the Creek Fire, which at last report had burned more than 11,000 acres near Sylmar north of Lake View Terrace. Some structures has been lost and many more are threatened. TV news reports said that firefighters temporarily ran out of water, but the problem was fixed.
The Creek Fire has forced a closure of the 210 Freeway from the 2 Freeway to the 5.