Santa Barbara ‘Lake Fire’ threatens Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, raging within one mile of iconic estate

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is in the path of a devastating Southern California wildfire.

The ‘Lake Fire’ has ravaged more than 20,000 acres across Santa Barbara since it began on July 5. Just 8 percent of it has been contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. One structure has been destroyed by the blaze so far, and the late performer’s ranch could be next.

On Sunday, Santa Barbara County officials issued an evacuation order for the area that includes the 2,700-acre property in Los Olivos.

From 1988 until his death in 2009, the King of Pop owned the property, which included a 6-bedroom mansion, three guest houses, a four-acre lake, a tennis court and a movie theater, according to real estate records. It also once included a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel and other amusement park-like features.

Neverland Ranch, a property once owned by Michael Jackson, is under threat of the Lake Fire (Rex Features)
Neverland Ranch, a property once owned by Michael Jackson, is under threat of the Lake Fire (Rex Features)

It is the same place where it was alleged Jackson abused young boys.

The singer was acquitted in 2005 after prosecutors accused him of molesting children at his sprawling property that takes its name from “Peter Pan.”

Billionaire Ron Burkle purchased the property for $22 million in 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. It is now called Sycamore Valley Ranch.

The fire has caused no fatalities and one reported injury as of Monday morning.

Helicopters drop water onto Lake Fire, devastating Santa Barbara County. Officials say just 8 percent of the fire is contained (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Helicopters drop water onto Lake Fire, devastating Santa Barbara County. Officials say just 8 percent of the fire is contained (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

“Most of the fire ignition and growth continues along the southeast portion of the fire with fire growth continuing last night. The fire continues to burn in dry grass, brush, a timber,” an agency report said. Nearly 1,200 personnel are working to put out the blaze along with 10 helicopters. However, on Sunday, “aviation resources were able to limit fire growth, but were limited by poor visibility due to smoke.”

The cause of the blaze is still unknown and under investigation, according to officials.