11/15/2008 at 02:40 PM EST
The wildfire raging near Santa Barbara, Calif., has sent thousands of people fleeing their homes, among them Brothers & Sisters
star Rob Lowe.
"It was just like Armageddon," the actor tells KABC-TV.
Lowe, 44, was at home and initially thought wife Sheryl was joking when she informed him of the blaze in the upscale Montecito community where Oscar-winner Michael Douglas and talk-show maven Oprah Winfrey also have homes
"My son and I were watching the football game," the father of sons Edward, 15, and John, 13, said in an interview with the L.A. station. "And my wife, who was out running errands, called and said, 'Get out. The mountain's on fire.' And I thought she was kidding. There was no indication that anything was going wrong, that anything was up."
Heeding the order, however, he found that it was no laughing matter.
"I put the kids in the car," he recalled, "turned out of the driveway and the entire mountain was on fire with flames shooting 200 feet in the air. There was literally no warning. It came out of nowhere."
Lowe's home was not damaged, nor were Douglas's or Winfrey's, according to reports.
But the fire, which was 40 percent contained by Saturday morning, had destroyed 111 residences and damaged nine before winds died down and the fire stabilized. Another 1,500 homes were still threatened and mandatory evacuations remained in effect, the Associated Press reports.
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