California Wildfires Has Hollywood Productions Scrambling

California Fires
Close Up Detail Wildfire Burning Brush Hillside California Wools

Hollywood TV shows and movies are scrambling due to the California wildfires.

TV shows and movies are on the search for new filming locations as permits become scarce due to the Woolsey Fires, which have burnt nearly 100,000 acres stretching from Malibu to Thousand Oaks. Meanwhile, film industry veterans become victims to the wildfire, “I watched my house in an inferno on TV,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Buildings at Paramount Ranch, which is the filming location for HBO’s hit drama Westworld, were among the more than 700 buildings destroyed in the Southern California wildfire. Several TV shows and movies halted production due to the fire including Comedy Central’s Drunk History and Zach Galifianakis’ untitled Netflix film was shut down mid-shoot when the Fire Department ordered the cast and crew to evacuate.

Westworld
LOS ANGELES – SEP 28: Evan Rachel Wood at the HBO’s “Westworld” Los Angeles Premiere at the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX on September 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA (Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com)
“The loss of the Paramount Ranch was particularly devastating in another way. Unlike the private ranches in the area, Paramount was owned and operated by a national park and thus was part of the federal government. In addition to being idyllic and close to Los Angeles, it also was significantly less expensive, popular with smaller-budgeted films. Whereas the Melody Movie Ranch, 40 miles away in Newhall, might run producers anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000 a day, filmmakers could squeeze in a day at Paramount for just a few hundred dollars. With Paramount damaged, Melody Ranch’s operations manager, Daniel Veluzat, has fielded at least two dozen calls from people who’d been booked for shoots at Paramount and were looking for new locations. Veluzat had to turn them away because he’s booked until mid-January.”

With Paramount Ranch burnt down, it is unclear whether HBO’s Westworld will return to the location in future seasons. California’s Deputy State Fire Marshal Ramiro Rodriguez told The Hollywood Reporter, “It would take years for the beauty of that particular ranch to come back to its full luster, and that’s the unfortunate aspect of it.”

Paramount Ranch
Agoura, USA. Circa September 2007. View of Western town in Paramount Ranch, Southern California; the public park is still a popular location for shooting movies and shows with western background (Lux Blue / Shutterstock.com)

According to the nonprofit FilmL.A., which tracks production in the county, two of the 50 film ranches operating in the area were damaged: Paramount Ranch and Calamigos Ranch.

Productions are working on shooting workarounds. There has also been a demand in calls from location scouts to keep their projects on time and under budget. Moreover, law enforcement officials have been forced to focus on the wildfires and could not officiate film permits, as they typically do.