Neil Young loses home to California wildfire, blasts Trump in scathing open letter

The veteran rocker is just one of many celebs calling for action and praising firefighters

The veteran rocker is just one of many celebs calling for action and praising firefighters

"Thank you to all the hero firefighters around California. It's going to be a journey to rebuild. Stay strong all," wrote actor Liam Hemsworth on Instagram, where he posted a photo of his home that was destroyed by raging California wildfires. (Instagram)

Veteran Canadian rocker Neil Young has lost his Malibu home to the wildfires that continue to rage across California — but rather than singing the blues about his personal loss, Young is blasting the Trump administration for not taking more action on climate change.

"California is vulnerable – not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think. We are vulnerable because of climate change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it," he wrote in a statement on his website.

"Hopefully we can come together as a people to take Climate Change on. We have the tools and could do it if we tried," wrote rocker Neil Young on his website. "There is no downside." (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

"We are not ill-prepared," he later continued. "We are up against something bigger than we have ever seen. It's too big for some to see at all. Firefighters have never seen anything like this in their lives," said Young, adding that it's the second home he has lost to a California fire.

"Hopefully we can come together as a people to take Climate Change on. We have the tools and could do it if we tried. There is no downside."

Young is just one of many celebrities who have been directly hit by the fire in the ritzy Malibu area: Miley Cyrus, Gerard Butler and Robin Thicke are among many who have lost homes.

"Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating," wrote Gerard Butler in an Instagram post showing him standing in the charred rubble that days earlier was his home. "Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters. Thank you @LosAngelesFireDepartment. If you can, support these brave men and women."

"It's been a heartbreaking few days. This is what's left of my house. Love. Many people in Malibu and surrounding areas in California have lost their homes also and my heart goes out to everyone who was affected by these fires," wrote actor Liam Hemsworth, who is engaged to Cyrus, on Instagram. "Thank you to all the hero firefighters around California. It's going to be a journey to rebuild. Stay strong all."

In a tweet, singer Miley Cyrus says her animals and her partner made it out safely, and that's all that matters.

"My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong. I am grateful for all I have left. Sending so much love and gratitude to the firefighters and LA country Sheriff's department!" wrote Cyrus, before encouraging fans to donate time, money and supplies, and tweeting links to various disaster relief organizations.

On Tuesday, Cyrus and Hemsworth also announced they were donating $500,000 to the Malibu Foundation to assist those affected by the fires. The same afternoon, comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres announced she had teamed up with Walmart to donate $100,000 to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation.

Meanwhile, Sandra Bullock donated $100,000 to the Humane Society of Ventura Country to assist with animal rescues and care.

Paramount's Western Town at Paramount Ranch, a legendary film set where TV shows from Gunsmoke to Westworld were filmed, has also gone up in smoke.

"We are sorry to share the news that the #WoolseyFire has burned Western Town at #ParamountRanch in Agoura. We do not have any details or photos, but it is our understanding that the structures have burned. This area is an active part of the incident and we cannot access it," said representatives of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in a tweet.

Paramount Pictures purchased the 2,700-acre property in 1927. Other programs that have shot there include Drunk HistorySons of Anarchy, The Mentalist, Weeds, QuickdrawCarnivale, Best of the West and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

"For 25 years, a veritable who's who of Hollywood practiced their craft at Paramount Ranch, including director Cecil B. DeMille and actors Bob Hope, Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert," reads the ranch's website.

Other celebrities took to social media to criticize Donald Trump's response to the tragedy, among them Katy Perry and Rod Stewart.

"This is an absolutely heartless response," wrote Perry in reply to a Donald Trump tweet blaming poor forest management for the fires, and threatening to pull funding. "There aren't even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters."

"Mr. President, while people's homes are burning, while lives are being lost & while firefighters are risking their lives, California needs words of support & encouragement, not threats or finger pointing & accusations," wrote Stewart. "Where is Winston Churchill when you need him?"

Leonardo DiCaprio also pointed to climate change. "The reason these wildfires have worsened is because of climate change and a historic drought," he tweeted. "Helping victims and fire relief efforts in our state should not be a partisan issue."

Evidently Neil Young agrees. "Imagine a leader who defies science, saying these solutions shouldn't be part of his decision-making on our behalf," concluded Young in his letter. "Imagine a leader who cares more for his own, convenient option than he does for the people he leads.

"Imagine an unfit leader," he wrote. "Now imagine a fit one."

Meanwhile, Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl thanked firefighters by treating them to a barbecue at a local firehall.

As of Tuesday, Los Angeles' Woolsey fire has claimed two lives, burned roughly 100,000 acres and destroyed 435 structures. It is roughly 35 per cent contained. The nearby Hill fire has burned more than 4,500 acres, threatened more than 400 structures, destroying two, and is listed as 90 percent contained.

Northern California's deadly Camp fire has burned 125,000 acres and destroyed more than 6,500 homes. So far 42 deaths have been reported, but officials expect that number to rise. Already it is the deadliest wildfire in California's history. 

About the Author

Jennifer Van Evra

Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer for q. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.

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