The movie sets on the Paramount Ranch have been razed by the Woolsey Fire, but Paramount Studios has pledged not only to rebuild the ranch, but to do it within two years, and get back on to making movies and television that need a ranch or old Western town set.
The Hollywood Reporter details that David Szymanski, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Superintendent, is committed to bringing the site back to life. The ranch’s “Western Town” burned on November 8th, soon after the fire began, and blazed through the surrounding community.
“The site is almost a total loss. 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.”
Ironically, the only things that remain in the Western Town are the church which was built for the HBO series, Westworld, and the train depot left over from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Due to the location and the terrain, people have feared this disaster for years, and now it has come to pass.
Rory Skei, the chief deputy executive officer of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, says that it’s out of everyone’s hands when the winds kick in.
“We’ve all dreaded it, we’ve tried to prepare, but sometimes the wind just takes over. We do what we can do.”
Sad for fans of @WestworldHBO and shows like Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, the Paramount Ranch western town movie set has burned to the ground in the Woolsey Fire @CBSLA #westworld #Woolseyfire pic.twitter.com/DhZWaGbr6g— John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) November 9, 2018
Western Town was built in the fifties, at the height of the genre, but the site was used for movies as early as the 1920s. A major restoration was performed in 1985 when the park service took over maintenance, but it continued to be used for the movie and television industry.
At this time, the structures used as barns, hotels, saloons, and barber shops for decades of movies and TV shows are burned to the ground. Anything that’s left will be salvaged and used to rebuild one of the favorite sites in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Sara Horner, board president of the Santa Monica Mountains Fund still is feeling optimistic about the future of the site as a place to visit and a location which will be seen again in the movies and on television, despite the currently gray charred surroundings.
“All this natural vegetation will regenerate itself. A year from now, it will be green, from after the rains, and then in a few years, it’ll look pretty much as it did. Nature is amazingly powerful in her ability to heal.”