Photo by Gus Trueblood / The Signal.
August 28, 1962 — Gene Autry's Melody Ranch movie town burns to the ground as flames engulf most of the
hills surrounding the Santa Clarita Valley.
The first blaze broke out just after noon in Hasley Canyon, north of Castaic Junction. The second broke out an hour later near the Circle J Ranch between
Newhall and Saugus. High winds whipped the flames into the most intense inferno anyone had ever seen.
When the smoke cleared three days later, 17,200 acres had been scorched and 15 structures and numerous out-buildings were lost.
No one was killed, but the Western street at Melody Ranch was gone.
"I had always planned to erect a Western museum there," Autry remembered in 1995, "but priceless Indian relics and a collection of rare guns,
including a set used by Billy the Kid, went up in smoke. Thank God, the ranch hands and all 14 of our horses were uninjured."
800 TB Patients Flee Fire; Homes, Autry Ranch Razed (AP 8-29-1962)
My Memories Of Melody Ranch by Gene Autry, 1995
Melody Ranch: Movie Magic in Placerita Canyon