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Photo Essay: Universal Studios Backlot Fire*

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For residents of the South East San Fernando Valley and adjacent environs, the stench and sight of smoke from the fire that broke out in the early morning hours on the backlot of Universal Studios has dominated the skies today; for most everyone else in Los Angeles this story has dominated the news.

LAist photographer Tom Andrews captured these images of the Universal Studios area; the site remains closed to the public while fire crews from multiple LA City & County units work to contain the blaze which has to date destroyed well-known locations like the Courthouse Square (from Back to the Future) and the King Kong attraction. CityWalk, the movie theatres, the rides (like the new Simpsons ride), and locations like Desperate Housewives' Wisteria Lane have remained unharmed, and what has burned is reported as being largely "replaceable."

Universal Studios is expected to open today at noon1 p.m. remains closed as of 3:45 p.m.