Wildfire Breaks Out Near Getty Center

An example of firefighters at work

As a raging conflagration now called the Skirball Fire engulfed the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles on Wednesday morning, December 6, the nearby Getty Center and its fabled J. Paul Getty Museum appeared to be safe for the time being. "Thus far, their dedicated efforts have prevented the loss of life", said Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) on its official website.

The entire Sepulveda Pass, both north and southbound lanes of the 405 Freeway, will be closed between the 101 and the 10 Freeway indefinitely.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said evacuation orders were affecting about 150,000 residents, but a Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman put the number at around 120,000. The Los Angeles Times reported that several homes in the Bel-Air neighborhood were seen burning as the fire continues to grow from 50 acres.

Wind-whipped wildfires are burning extremely dry terrain along thenorthern and western edges of Los Angeles, and, more extensively, Ventura County, northwest of the city, for a third day.

The Creek fire started Tuesday about 6:30 a.m. and quickly raced out of control as powerful Santa Ana winds pushed it toward houses below. Strong winds helped push the fire uphill, putting homes and residents in danger. One is fully contained, while the Little Mountain Fire is at 100 acres.

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The area is in the vicinity of the devastating 1961 "Bel Air fire" that destroyed about 500 homes.

"We don't have a good feel on which direction this fire is heading", Stewart said. The Skirball Center's Zeidler's Cafe is closed due to their close proximity to the fire, and the Hammer Museum's cafe is closed as well.

The Thomas Fire jumped to thousands of acres with startling speed as Santa Ana winds, blowing as fast as 35 to 50 miles per hour, carried its embers.

HollywoodLifers, if you're in the Los Angeles area, stay safe.

More than 600 firefighters battled the blaze amid strong Santa Ana winds, some gusting at 70 miles per hour. It remained unclear at the time what caused each wildfire.

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