Prince Harry and Meghan's $14.7m Montecito home under threat of 'severe wildfires' with neighbors 'worried sick'

Prince Harry and Meghan's $14.7m Montecito home under threat of 'severe wildfires' with neighbors 'worried sick'

May 18, 2021

PRINCE Harry and Meghan's $14.7million home is at risk of "severe wildfires" with neighbors "worried sick" after one of the one of the driest rainfall years in the last decade, The Sun can exclusively reveal.

The royal couple, who relocated from Britain to sunny California last year, bought a stunning home in a celebrity enclave in Montecito, where they live with their two-year-old son, Archie.

But despite their 18,000-square-foot modern property being set in lush green surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it's not the ideal location when it comes to safety.

With Meghan heavily pregnant, they may end up evacuating with their newborn daughter, their toddler son and beloved pets, after officials delivered a stark warning this month.

Christina Favuzzi, Montecito Fire Public Information Officer, exclusively told The Sun homeowners such as Meghan and Harry should prepare for the worst.

She said: "We are facing concerning conditions in terms of record-low fuel moistures and predicted weather patterns. Those factors could lead to a severe fire season.

"On [Meghan and Harry's road] and in all areas of the Montecito Fire Protection District, we have been conducting extensive wildfire prevention work in order to educate, prepare and protect our community.

"By this time last year, Montecito had received more than 17 inches of rain, according to the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District, marking an average rainfall year.

"So far in 2021, our community has received about 10 inches of rain, making this one of the driest rainfall years in the last decade."

A number of major celebrities also live close to The Sussexes, including Oprah and newly-married Ariana Grande and her husband Dalton Gomez.

The Montecito Fire Department declared May 3 the start of high fire season – two weeks early.

Santa Barbara County Fire also revealed the 2020/21 season yielded just 47 per cent of the normal rainfall.

Captain Daniel Bertucelli from the department told The Sun: "We have been in drought-like conditions for quite some time, nobody has a crystal ball as to how it's going to play out.

"I heard Prince Harry and Meghan moved up here, the fire department doesn't give any preferential treatment to celebrities, every single person in our community is 100 per cent equal.

"And from what I've read, that's exactly why they moved here, to be treated just like normal people, they can follow all the same advice we have been giving others ahead of this season."

He explained the pair will have to educate themselves on the 'Ready, Set, Go' program, which is state-wide and helps homeowners living in high fire hazard areas to prepare for disaster.

"They need to provide 100 feet of defensible space around their house, and harden their home in case of a wind-driven fire where there are embers flying through the air," he said.

"Most homes don't burn down from the fire front itself, they burn down from the embers that are flying through the air upwards of one mile in front of the fire.

"They should have their stuff set to go and have a plan in place, a meeting point if everyone is not home at the time. They should pack stuff that's irreplaceable.

"Then if they are told to go, go without hesitation. More important than that, if they feel uncomfortable and want to go, but the authorities haven't said to yet, just go anyway. Do not wait."

A local source, who lives close to Harry and Meghan, told The Sun they are extremely worried and described the whole region as a "tinder box".

"The Sussexes' place is right in the firing line, unfortunately," they said.

"They live in the foothills of Montecito where there are hundreds of stands of eucalyptus that tend to explode because they’re full of oil, rather than merely burn.

"A lot of people in our neighborhood are on edge, worried sick about how bad this fire season will be.

"People who’ve just moved to the area won’t realize how bad it’s looking, but it’s about as bad as it can be.

"It's just so dry, aside from all the rich people's lush lawns, of course.

"At this time of year the hills should be a beautiful green, but they're still just brown. It's a truly scary sight if you've lived around here long enough.

“You only have to mention the Thomas Fire and the Santa Barbara landslides from a few years ago and locals' eyes are filled with fear.

"There's still a lot of trauma and a lot of people still aren't back in their homes after having them destroyed.

“Meghan was in the UK for a lot of the most recent fires in Southern California, but hopefully she hasn’t forgotten what kids here learn from a young age about being ready to evacuate in the event of a fire or an earthquake. "

It is not known if Meghan and Harry would hire their own private firefighters, although many celebrities have done so in the past, including The Kardashians.

Kim and her estranged husband Kanye West reportedly hired their own team to save their $60million mansion in Hidden Hills as fires ravaged the area back in 2018.

The source added that Southern California might be beautiful, but thanks to the fires, earthquakes and mudslides, it's "not for the uninitiated or unprepared."

"Prince Harry, growing up in the flat, green pastures of Windsor and lush parks of Kensington, will likely never have felt the fear of seeing a roaring inferno racing toward your home," they said.

"Let's hope that, unlike most of his neighbors around here, he never does."

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