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Multimillion-dollar mansions were set ablaze as more than 1,000 firefighters attempted in vain to contain an increasing number of fires igniting across southern California.

The fire brought back memories of the 1961 Bel-Air fire, in which movie stars including Maureen O'Hara and Fred MacMurray fought to save their homes - a seminal event that fed apocalyptic visions of Los Angeles for decades to come. Some buildings in the estate's upper vineyard area may have been damaged but the winery and house are believed to be intact, the media mogul said.

She said firefighters stepped in to douse the flames with the aid of helicopters and that other storage sheds, the winery itself and the estate's unoccupied house are not damaged. Later, the Los Angeles Times reported that the fire had grown near Murdoch's estate, but had not burned the property's buildings or vineyard.

Parts of Murdoch's sprawling Los Angeles estate fell victim to wildfires that spread through the ritzy neighbourhood of Bel-Air on Wednesday, according to news reports.

Mr Murdoch bought the estate in 2013 for $28.8m after seeing an advert for the property in in Wall Street Journal, a USA newspaper he owns.

The Creek fire, north of downtown LA, had destroyed 11,000 acres by Tuesday night, while the Rye fire devastated 7,000 acres by Monday morning. That fire has already claimed 150 structures but the incident commander, Todd Derum, told the Associated Press that he thinks hundreds of homes have likely been destroyed.

US President Donald Trump tweeted his thoughts and prayers to California.

"THANK YOU to all First Responders for your incredible work". In the posh Bel Air area, wildfire has destroyed "at least four and possibly six homes" and forced evacuation.

The Associated Press reported that the evacuation orders affected around 200,000 people and that almost 200 homes had already been destroyed.