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Getty Fire: 618 Acres Burned, 10,000 Asked To Evacuate

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Firefighters douse the smoldering remains of a house in the area where the Getty Fire is burning on Oct. 28, 2019. The fire broke out overnight near a major freeway and quickly spread south and west, sending people fleeing in the dark. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)
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Jump to: Evacuations | Closures | Air Quality | Weather Conditions | How To Help | Additional Resources


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A fire that broke out overnight and quickly grew to 618 acres has Los Angeles firefighters warning all residents west of the 405 Freeway and north of Sunset Boulevard to be vigilant. It is 5% contained.

At a 5 p.m. press conference, officials announced that the Mountaingate community will begin repopulation, going from a mandatory evacuation area to a voluntary evacuation area. Residents will need to show an ID.

Fire officials said eight structures have been destroyed and six have been damaged. For much of Monday, the fire closed all southbound lanes of the 405 Freeway from the 101 Freeway to Sunset Boulevard. Shortly after 6 p.m., the southbound lanes were reopened, but the off-ramps between 101 and Sunset remained closed.

There have been 18 rescue missions, all of elderly residents, since the fire broke out. Garcetti signed an emergency declaration to bring more aide to the area.

The "very dynamic fire" was burning in a westward direction, aided by high winds, according to Los Angeles Fire Department officials. More than 10,000 homes and other structures are impacted by the evacuation orders, and at least 900 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers are without power.

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Garcetti urged anyone in an evacuation zone to get out as soon as possible.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti visits homes as they burn in the Getty fire, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Christian Monterrosa/AP)

"We have homes that we believe are lost now. Do not wait, do not think you can fight this," Garcetti said at a predawn news conference. "Do not get your own hoses out. Do not fight this fire. Leave it to the professionals of LAFD and our sister agencies that are out there. And if you get those orders, do not wait."

City Councilman Paul Koretz, who represents neighborhoods through the Sepulveda Pass, was a bit more blunt.

"If you're in the mandatory evacuation zones and you're still watching this, you're an idiot. Get the hell out," he said during the press briefing.

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At a noon press conference, Garcetti said officials expect the onshore breezes to shift, which could "assist us in more moist air." He added that an arson investigation has been opened, and that the possibility of the fire being set at or near a homeless encampment has been ruled out.

The fire broke out just after 1:30 a.m. on the westside of the Sepulveda Pass near the Getty Center, Garcetti said at a 7:15 a.m. press briefing. LAFD Captain Erik Scott told KPCC/LAist that authorities used "wireless emergency alerts," reverse 911 calls and even megaphones to alert people in the path of a fire that began in the dead of night.

Garcetti said firefighters would be using bulldozers to carve out a wide fire break on the western edge of the burn zone as a precaution.

"This is not going to be over today," he said.

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A man walks past a burning home during the Getty fire, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Christian Monterrosa/AP)
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THE BASICS

  • Acres burned: 618
  • Containment: 5%
  • Injuries: None yet reported
  • Structures damages or destroyed: 8 structures lost, six damaged
  • Structures threatened: Approximately 10,000
  • Resources deployed: About 1100 personnel across multiple agencies


RELATED: California Fires Are Getting Worse. What's Going On?


EVACUATIONS

Mandatory evacuations were issued in the area with the following borders:

  • Northern border: Mulholland Drive
  • Western border: Temescal Canyon Road
  • Southern border: Sunset Boulevard
  • Eastern border: 405 Freeway

Voluntary evacuations were issued in the area with the following borders:

  • The Mountaingate community turned from a mandatory evacuation area to a voluntary evacuation area at 5 p.m. Monday
  • Northern border: Mulholland Drive
  • Western border: Topanga Canyon
  • Southern border: Sunset Boulevard
  • Eastern border: Temescal Canyon Road

In areas where mandatory evacuations are still in effect, Garcetti suggested that residents should prepared for two nights out of their homes.
EVACUATION CENTERS

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The Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at the Westwood Recreation Center for residents impacted by the Getty Fire burning in the Sepulveda Pass. (Chava Sanchez/LAist )

For people:

  • Westwood Recreation Center, 1350 South Supulveda
  • Palisades Recreation Center, 851 Alma Real Dr.
  • Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Recreation Center, 14201 Huston St.(Will close at 8 p.m.)
  • Stoner Recreation Center, 1835 Stoner Ave.(Will close at 8 p.m.)
  • Cheviot Hills Recreation Center, 2551 Motor Ave. (Will close at 8 p.m.)

For animals:

  • West Valley Animal Shelter, 20655 Plummer St.
  • West L.A. Animal Shelter, 11361 W Pico Bl.
  • Large Animals: Hanson Dam Recreation Center, 11770 Foothill Blvd.

ROAD CLOSURES

The following roads were closed, according to the California Highway Patrol:

  • Southbound 405 off-ramps between the 101 Freeway and Sunset Boulevard remain closed
  • Eastbound and westbound 101 access to the southbound 405
  • North 405 Freeway at Getty Center Drive
  • Getty Center Drive offramp
  • Skirball Center Drive (north and southbound ramps)
  • Sepulveda Boulevard (north and southbound ramps)
  • Sunset Boulevard (north and southbound ramps)
  • Moraga Drive (northbound)
  • Planned construction on PCH in Malibu, L.A. and Santa Monica has been canceled for the remainder of the week

SCHOOL CLOSURES

  • The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has closed all its schools in Malibu and Santa Monica
  • UCLA canceled classes, though the campus is not officially closed
  • Mount St. Mary's University
  • High Schools: Palisades Charter and University
  • Middle Schools: Emerson and Revere
  • Elementary Schools: Brentwood, Brockton, Canyon, Community Magnet, Fairburn, Kentner, Marquez, Palisades, Roscamore, Nora Sterry, Topanga, Warner, Westwood
  • Other charter schools: Citizens of the World - Gateway and Ivy Place campuses; Magnolia Science Academy - #4 and #6

AIR QUALITY

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory until Tuesday. Air quality in the Getty Fire area was listed as very unhealthy with sensors in Brentwood showing elevated levels of particular matter. According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, portions of the following areas also have unhealthy air quality:

  • NW Coastal Los Angeles County
  • Central Los Angeles
  • East and West San Fernando Valley

On Monday afternoon, winds are expected to push the smoke east and northeast toward downtown Los Angeles, Burbank and San Fernando Valley, according to an AQMD release.
Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley and Burbank were expected to be impacted on Tuesday.

Check AQMD's website for a live map of air quality conditions.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

A red flag warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Monday. Forecasters warn that the combination of gusty Santa Winds, low humidity and dry fuels could lead to rapid fire growth.

"People are encouraged to remain vigilant in terms of knowing whether there's a fire near you and to follow the advice of local authorities," said meteorologist David Sweet.

"It's a dangerous season right now," LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said at the morning press briefing. "Santa Ana winds pick up in September and last through April. We have not had any significant rainfall for a period of time. So that's why we're very, very concerned about these weather conditions."

BACKGROUND

The Getty Fire started early Monday morning at about 50 acres just west of the 405 Freeway near Sunset Boulevard. Within hours, it had spread to hundreds of acres and prompted thousands of mandatory evacuations.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but at a Monday morning press conference Mayor Garcetti said the blaze was not caused by anyone in homeless encampments in the area.

Authorities said the Getty Center was not threatened at this time.

HOW TO HELP

City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield urges those who want to donate goods to do so at the Getty Fire Donation Center, which will be open until 4 p.m.

SCENES ON THE GROUND

Daniel Ezralow, whose house is just south of the Getty in Brentwood, stayed behind with his son Elijah to protect his house, despite evacuation orders. Ezralow's wife and younger son left earlier.

"We stayed on the roof and [were] up watering the whole night," said Daniel. "We haven't slept. I thought, if it's gonna burn - our cars were both pointed out, ready to go - we let it go, and we run. But if it's going to be an ember that lands on the house, we could catch it."

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Firefighters try to save a home on Tigertail Road as power lines fall and spark behind them during the Getty Fire. (Christian Monterrosa/AP)

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Firefighters try to save a home on Tigertail Road during the Getty fire, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Christian Monterrosa/AP)

Resident Carolyn Katzin received an evacution order in the early morning hours and left her home off Bundy Drive. She parked her car in the parking lot of her office with her two dogs, Lucky and Branson, and two cats, Teddy Bear and Lily.

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Carolyn Katzin with her dogs Branson and Lucky at the West L.A. Animal Shelter on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. Katzin left her home early Monday morning after receiving an evacuation notice. (Suzanne Levy/LAist)

"I just hope I can go home soon... and I hope I have a home to go to," she said, adding that she used to live up on Tigertail Road, where some homes have reportedly burned.

"It just makes it very real," she said.

Pacific Palisades resident Kathleen Crandell said she's never had to evacuate from her home in the 33 years she's lived next to the Santa Monica Conservancy and Will Rogers State Park. She managed to get her two cats and a handful of other items before leaving her house.

"This little thing is like a bad dream," Crandell said.

Mandy Favaloro lives a block away from the mandatory evacuation zone. She left her home early as a precaution.

"We've been packed since last Monday, because the Palisades Fire was a block in the other direction," Favaloro said. The Palisades Fire started last week and

burned more than 40 acres

.

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Mandy Favaloro, Nick Jackson and their dog, Radar, left their home in the Pacific Palisades early on Monday after the Getty Fire broke out. They live one block away from the mandatory evacuation zone, but wanted to play it safe. (Chava Sanchez/LAist )

Tess McGinnis is a caregiver who provides services for a 97-year-old Mandeville Canyon woman. The area was under mandatory evacuation, and McGinnis was waiting at a Vons on PCH and Sunset to see if her boss would send her to another client.

"I was on my way to work... but my agency called me and said that they're closed, and I was just about 15 minutes away," she said. "I cannot go home because all this is closed."

McGinnis' client was picked up by her son-in-law to evacuate, she said, but the situation was nevertheless frightening.

"It's kind of scary, you know, because they're old women that I take care of," she said. "It's good that her son-in-law is picking her up. She's 97; I hope she's okay."

HOW WE'RE REPORTING ON THIS

Reporter Robert Garrova and visual journalist Chava Sanchez were at an evacuation center, Sharon McNary and Emily Dugdale reported from the staging area and Emily Guerin was in Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica. Digital producers Jessica Ogilvie and Ryan Fonseca kept this story updated. Additional reporting was done by KPCC newscast producers Pablo Cabrera, Ixty Quintinilla, Brianna Flores and Megan Erwin. Editor Suzanne Levy also contributed to this story.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

FIRE RESOURCES

YOUR QUESTIONS