Courtesy photo

Associated Press

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has tweeted that Southern California’s huge wildfire has apparently destroyed the TV and movie production location known as “Western Town” at the historic Paramount Ranch.

The National Park Service says it has no details or photos but the structures that formed Old West facades are believed to have burned on Friday.

The park service says the ranch served as locations for productions ranging from 1938’s “The Adventures of Marco Polo” to TV’s “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” and the more recent shows “The Mentalist” and “Weeds.”

Western Town specifically was built for TV productions in the 1950s and was used for such westerns as “The Cisco Kid” and “Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre.”

The location set in the mountains west of Los Angeles dates to 1927 when Paramount Pictures leased the ranch and began making films there.

Filming continued for decades even as the ranch changed hands. It was acquired by the National Park Service in 1980 but has continued to function as a filming location.

When not in use for filming, visitors could stroll through Western Town while hiking or ride through on horseback.

Fire officials say evacuations due to the raging Southern California wildfire are expected to reach about 148,000 and structural losses are expected to be significant.

The so-called Woolsey Fire burning west of Los Angeles has surpassed 15 square miles Friday morning and is continuing to grow.

The North Bound Pacific Coast Hwy from the McClure Tunnel to the North City Limits is closed down until further notice.  All West Bound On Ramps to the I 10 within the City of Santa Monica are closed until further notice

Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richardson says 45,000 people in Ventura County and 43,000 more in Los Angeles County were ordered to evacuate overnight.

Richardson estimates another 60,000 people will likely have to evacuate because the fire jumped U.S. 101 early Friday and is pushing toward the coast.

He says the fire’s pace forced firefighters to focus on life-protection rather than saving structures and he expects that yet-to-be-determined number to be significant.

Another fire to the west has burned more than 9 square miles in Ventura County but has slowed since reaching the footprint of a fire stripped away vegetation in 2013.

A California fire official says six major fires are burning around the state, and characterized three of them as “critical.”

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