Wildfires fanned by winds of up to 70mph in California have forced some of Hollywood's leading lights to flee their multimillion dollar mansions.

The exclusive town of Montecito in the US state has been especially badly hit by the fires, which have already destroyed 100 homes about 100 miles north-west of Los Angeles.

Among the celebrities abandoning the town, where house prices are at an average of $2.9 million are Oprah Winfrey, Michael Douglas, Jeff Bridges, Rob Lowe, Steven Spielberg, John Cleese, Christopher Lloyd and Steve Martin.

Chatshow host Oprah began her latest show by discussing the fire, while she also took a call from West Wing actor Rob Lowe.

"I was watching the football game with my son and my wife called and said 'Montecito's on fire - get out!'," he said.

"I thought she was kidding because there was no indication that there would be any problem whatsoever.

"But we got in the car, pulled out of the driveway and the entire mountain behind us was in flames.

"It was absolutely Armageddon."

Thirteen people have been injured from burns and smoke inhalation following the fires, while a state of emergency has been declared in Santa Barbara county by state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

15/11/2008 15:16:06