AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Standing amid the charred foundations and burned-out movie sets of Paramount Ranch, officials from the National Park Service said Friday that they plan to rebuild and reopen the site that holds decades of movie history and still hosts a steady stream of Hollywood productions within the next two years.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Superintendent David Szymanski announced the plan Friday as he guided reporters through the twisted metal and ashes that once made up the ranch’s “Western Town,” most of which burned shortly after a huge wildfire broke out Nov. 8 and swept through the surrounding mountains and community, destroying more than 700 homes and other buildings.
“The site is almost a total loss,” Szymanski said. “It’s easy to be somber. But there’s some things that I’m hoping will allow us to be a little bit less somber. We’d like to get Paramount Ranch rebuilt in the next 24 months.”
A church built for HBO’s “Westworld” and a train depot constructed for the 1990s CBS series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” the two productions most associated with the site, are all that remain of the structures, backed by the blackened hills of a wildfire that many feared for years.
“We’ve all dreaded it, we’ve tried to prepare, but sometimes the wind just takes over,” said Rory Skei, the chief deputy executive officer of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. “We do what we can do.”
Elsewhere on the fire, more residents were allowed Friday to return to homes they fled from days earlier.
Authorities reopened more areas in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. But they kept some locations within the Woolsey Fire zone off-limits because of hazards ranging from burned power poles to compromised gas lines and destroyed roadways.
Utility crews worked to remove damaged equipment and bring in replacements, including numerous power poles.
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