Wildfire Breaks Out Near Getty Center

210 Freeway

A new wildfire in Los Angeles near the Getty Museum has prompted officials to shut down the 405 freeway completely and evacuate areas of Bel Air in which homes are already burning. While it's far too soon to determine what caused the Skirball Fire, early reports say the blaze began in the Brentwood neighborhood before moving north. It's unclear if the fire is burning the vineyard or the house as well. The two fires were in addition to the largest blaze, the Thomas fire in Ventura that had destroyed more than 150 homes.

The Skirball Fire was reported at 4:52 a.m. on the east side of the freeway near Mulholland Drive, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. There were no injuries yet reported, according to KABC-TV.

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The latest California fires come just two months after wildfires in the northern part of the state were blamed for an estimated $3 billion in damage. Evacuations have also been ordered in the Shallow Hills area, between Wentworth Street to the north, Wheatland Avenue on the west and Sunland Boulevard to the south. Fire crews were hard at work trying to contain the blaze, but they were fighting a fire fueled 25 miles per hour winds.

As the fire burns northeast of the Getty Center and east of the 405 (San Diego) Freeway, the museum and other Center facilities are closed to the public.

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Many schools and local businesses in both counties have been closed.

Thousands of residents were under evacuation order. Six fixed-wing aircraft and a number of helicopters were deployed to the scene, Garcetti said.

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LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas noted that red flag conditions are expected to remain in effect at least through Friday, with gusting Santa Ana winds presenting a continuing danger of rapidly spreading blazes. Along with the lack of much-needed rain, the Santa Ana winds have made it very hard to contain and put out the fires.

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