Wildfire near LA’s Getty museum contained

Wildfire near LA’s Getty museum contained

24 October 2008

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USA — A wildfire burned 100 acres of brush and grass near the world-famous Getty art museum before it was doused early Thursday without causing any damage or injuries, fire officials said.

Nearby Interstate 405 was closed for about four hours but reopened at 6 a.m., as the morning rush was getting underway. Even so, traffic on freeways and surface streets throughout Los Angeles were clogged, jammed with motorists who had sought ways around the fire.

The fire erupted around 12:50 a.m. on a steep urban hillside about two miles from the Getty Center.

The center, which houses one of the world’s richest art collections and a research institute, was closed for the day as a precaution, and nearby Mount St. Mary’s College canceled morning classes.

About 400 firefighters and eight water-dropping helicopters fought the flames for about seven hours before the blaze was declared knocked down at 8:16 a.m., Fire Department spokesman Ron Myers said.

Crews were expected to remain at the museum throughout the day to douse any remaining embers that could flare up if dry, hot Santa Ana winds returned, Myers said.

Winds gusted to 50 mph in some areas of Southern California on Wednesday. It was breezy near the Getty Center with predawn winds between 15 mph and 20 mph, but an hour after the fire started, they eased off.

The museum is about 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, hot, dry, windy weather kept the fire danger high in mountains, valleys and forest areas of Southern California. The National Weather Service said high winds could remain a possibility into the weekend.

On Wednesday, gusty Santa Ana winds drove a 250-acre wildfire in Fontana and the canyons of Rancho Cucamonga, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

The fire was 90 percent contained Thursday but no flames were visible and authorities expected to completely surround it by evening, state fire officials said.

 


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