Wildfires, E.T.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Universal Studios

Thanks to the capricious ways of Mother Nature, with a massive assist from Los Angeles firefighters, E.T. still has a home to phone.

Michael Jackson's tigers—should they, you know, be capable of pulling off such a dialing feat—may not be so lucky.

The Shambala Preserve, run by Birds babe Tippi Hedren and, since 2006, home to the King of Pop's exotic felines Thriller and Sabu, has been threatened by the wildfires raging now less than a mile away from the 65-acre nonprofit sanctuary.

The 64 animals housed on the preserve may be the next victims of the area's forced evacuation by the so-called Station Fire, which has already displaced some 12,000 residents in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest—though movie lovers may be relieved to know that Elliott and Gertie's abode was among those spared.

The Tujunga home featured in E.T. as the hiding grounds and eventual quarantined HQ of the titular extraterrestrial was saved, though just, from the flames. Fire had surrounded the home and even resulted in the mandatory evacuation of the neighborhood. Well, almost—homeowner Tony Piwowar doggedly (and potentially stupidly) refused to jump property ship.

As for the terrestrial-based animals, officials reportedly ordered Hedren, head of the Roar Foundation, which runs the Shambala Preserve, to move the animals earlier this week, but the 79-year-old erstwhile Hitchcock blonde and mother to Melanie Griffith has so far held off of sending the menagerie into the non-wild, albeit not due to stubbornness.

An official said this week that the vehicles and general logistics required of transporting the big cats would wreak havoc on firefighters' mobility in the area.

And PETA, take note: provision-equipped employees are staying put with the animals until the fire dies down. But just in case an evacuation is necessary, animal lovers can rest assured workers have prepared 36 crates to move the cats, a process which would take around three hours.


Devastation aside, this season hasn't been all bad. Relive the highs and lows in our Best of Summer 2009 gallery.

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