BRENTWOOD—A brush fire erupted at at around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, October 28 on a hill alongside the 405 freeway in the Sepulveda Pass at Getty Center Drive.
The blaze occurred near the Getty Center Museum, surrounded by the upscale neighborhoods of Bel Air, Brentwood, and Westwood. By 12 p.m., the fire claimed 600+ acres and placed 10,000 structures under mandatory evacuations orders. Those orders were expected to remain in place Monday night, and possibly Tuesday night. Residents were forced to flee their homes in the middle of the night to seek safety.
The evacuation zone included Mulholland Drive on the north side, the 405 on the east, Sunset Boulevard on the south, and Temescal Canyon Road on the west. After several hours of being unattainable to residents, the southbound 405 was reopened at approximately 6 p.m. The northbound 405 is open to the public, with the exception of the off-ramps on both sides of the freeway between the 101 Freeway and Sunset Boulevard, per the California Highway Patrol. The re-opening of the off-ramps is not known.
Over 1100 firefighters have been working to maintain control of the Getty Fire. Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas explained to the media that despite firefighters’ efforts, at least eight homes, including some on Tigertail Road, were destroyed in the blaze. Five other homes were damaged, while some homes remained under threat. Strong Santa Ana winds gained momentum, which allowed for embers being cast a mile ahead of the origin of the blaze, igniting spot fires and homes.
Julio César, 20, and his mother, Perla Zacarías, 51, have remained in the area to help feed fighters and those battling the massive wildfire. They placed themselves near a firetruck in order to hand out breakfast burritos and coffee via their “My 6 Angels” food truck.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti assured Angelenos authorities ruled out a homeless-encampment as the cause of the fire. The cause of the 2017 “Skirball Fire” was a cooking fire started at a homeless encampment. While the cause of the Getty Fire remains under investigation, an active arson investigation continues, fire officials noted. A possible cause is a downed power pole that fell along Sepulveda Boulevard. A charred tree branch was found on Sepulveda Boulevard. Mayor Garcetti plans to bring in more resources to help battle the fire by signing an emergency declaration.
Over 2,600 residents were without power due to the Getty Fire, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported. Homes affected by the power outage include Bel Air, Brentwood, and Westwood.
Among those evacuated from their homes included Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who both made it out safely with their families.
The Los Angeles Unified School District closed schools near the area of the fire on Monday due to the smoke and flames and will remain closed Tuesday as well, including Independent Charter Schools. The schools affected include the following:
-University High School
-Emerson Middle School
-Revere Middle School
-Kenter Canyon Elementary
-Nora Sterry Elementary
-Citizens of the World Charter (Gateway and Ivy Place campuses)
-Magnolia Science Academy (#4 and #6)
-Palisades Charter High School.
Overnight shelters were opened to residents who were displaced including the Westwood Recreation Center located at 1350 South Sepulveda Blvd., The Palisades Recreation Center located at 851 Alma Real Dr. is also open for residents displaced from their homes.