Nation in brief: Wildfire empties art center, college

Nation in brief: Wildfire empties art center, college

9 July 2009

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The world-famous Getty Center art complex and nearby Mount St. Mary’s College were evacuated Wednesday as a fire burned in thick brush on the steep slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The fire erupted at 12:44 p.m. and quickly grew to 80 acres above parking facilities for the Getty, which has a collection ranging from European paintings to illuminated manuscripts and photographs, including works by Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.

About 350 firefighters worked on rugged slopes, and seven helicopters pounded flames with repeated water drops.

The fire was 50 percent contained shortly after 6:30 p.m., and officials expected increasingly favorable conditions because of rising humidity.

Fire Department spokesman Lauren deRosier said equipment used by a brush clearance crew sparked the fire.

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