Getty Fire: 618 Acres Burned, 10,000 Asked To Evacuate
Note: This story is no longer being updated. Check LAist in the morning for the latest updates.
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.
Garcetti urged anyone in an evacuation zone to get out as soon as possible.
"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.
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.
- 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
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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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
- 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
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.
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.
Quick update on Fire weather outlooks. Dangerous fire weather conditions will continue across much of northern and southern California through at least tomorrow. Portions of southern California were upgraded to an Extremely Critical risk for Day 2/Tuesday, October 29th. pic.twitter.com/1GhSwNMnPv— NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) October 28, 2019
"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."
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.
Help #GettyFire evacuees by donating supplies to the Getty Fire Donation Center at 5056 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks. Open until 4pm. Send bottled water, energy bars, toiletries, wipes, dry dog food, new animal crates, toilet paper, paper towels. No clothes. pic.twitter.com/hEzzpyFKUt— Bob Blumenfield (@BobBlumenfield) October 28, 2019
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."
An LA firefighter sprays down a house covered with Halloween decorations earlier today. #GettyFire. What made it so scary was the intense wind, which fueled the blaze and had fire crews working for hours to snuff out the flames. @KNX1070 pic.twitter.com/8eNgQvwCgc— Jon Baird (@KNXBaird) October 28, 2019
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.
"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
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."
Whenever I cover wildfires in wealthy areas like the #Palisades, I’m always struck by the workers who do their jobs despite the danger. Today, the guys from Super Paws were giving Shawn the toy poodle his bi-monthly haircut — in a voluntary evacuation zone of the #GettyFire pic.twitter.com/gqkj0DiruF— Emily Guerin (@guerinemily) October 28, 2019
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.
For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:
- Every Day Is Fire Season. Here's How Angelenos Can Prepare Right Now
- How To Find Out About Fire Evacuations In Your Area
- How To Keep Yourself Safe From Wildfire Smoke
- The Air Is Brown -- Should I Wear A Mask?
- What Does 'Containment' Of A Fire Mean, Exactly?
- This Is Why Fire Officials Don't Want You To Stay And Defend Your Home
- What To Do -- And Not Do -- When You Get Home After A Wildfire
- How To Avoid Getting Towed During LA's Red Flag Parking Restrictions
- If You Want To Help Fire Victims, Resist The Urge To Volunteer