Published September 01, 2009
The owner of a preserve of exotic animals near Los Angeles that houses big cats once owned by Michael Jackson says she is ignoring evacuation orders and staying put as a wildfire rages nearby.
Actress Tippi Hedren, founder and president of Shambala Preserve in Acton, Calif., said packing up the sanctuary's roughly 100 wild animals, putting them all in carriers and taking them to another location wouldn't be prudent right now since they aren't in imminent danger.
"We have a very, very good plan with the fire department," Hedren, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," told FOX News. "We will stay where we are, let the fire department do their job and we will do ours."
Acton is part of an area under a mandatory evacuation order because of the relentless wildfire that continued to burn Tuesday. The blaze already has claimed 53 homes and forced thousands to flee their homes and businesses.
Jackson's tigers Thriller and Sabu are among the exotic animals that live at Shambala.
The size of fire in the Angeles National Forest grew to more than 190 square miles overnight, according to U.S. Forest Service Cmdr. Mike Dietrich.
It was spreading in all directions Tuesday, from Sunland on the western front of the fire to the high desert ranchlands of Acton on the northeast.
Firefighters planned to set backfires to protect the Sunland area and will try to halt its northeastern spread with bulldozers to carve eight miles of firebreak in the Acton area.
The swath of fire extends from the densely populated foothill communities of Altadena, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Tujunga and Sunland in the south to Acton.
The 53 homes destroyed included some forest cabins, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Dennis Cross. He did not know how many were full-time residences.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.