Getty Fire 15% Contained Ahead Of Tonight’s “Most Significant Wind Event Of The Year”; 12 Homes Lost, Evacuations Remain – Update
UPDATED with details from news conference, 2:45 PM: There’s good news and potentially really bad news today regarding the Getty Fire that broke out early Monday morning in the Sepulveda Basin in Los Angeles.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference this afternoon that the fire is 15% contained — up from 0% Monday afternoon — and that there is “no open flame today, right now. But,” he added ominously, “and this is the big ‘but,’ we have the most significant wind event in Los Angeles of the year that will be starting this evening around 11 o’clock. It will peak at 3 a.m. but continue on through Thursday. … And there are still embers throughout this territory.”
Garcetti then compared the potential for devastation tonight to historic L.A. firestorms. “I’m looking at 1961 [Bel-Air Fire], also Mandeville Canyon fire in the 1970s — we are listening to our fire professionals who are making that call to continue to keep people evacuated in that mandatory-evacuation area. All it takes is one ember … and we could see new fire or fires emerge in this area.”
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The Santa Ana winds-driven fire that devastated the tony Bel-Air community in November 1961 destroyed more than 480 homes and charred some 16,900 acres. The 1978 Mandeville Canyon fire burned from Agoura through the canyons to Malibu and the ocean, costing 230 homes.
The mayor also updated a number of details about the Getty Fire today. He said 12 homes are confirmed lost and five others damaged. The acreage has grown to 650, and there now are 1,165 personnel assigned to battling the fire.
PREVIOUSLY, 8:31 AM: The Getty Fire that erupted early Monday morning grew slightly to 658 acres overnight, Los Angeles officials said Tuesday morning, as firefighters worked to knock down bigger flareups in the area.
Mandatory evacuations remain in place with a high wind advisory calling for strong winds returning to the region tonight. Evacuation centers established yesterday also remain available. L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin said the decision to keep residents from returning to their home come from lessons learned in the deadly 1961 Bel-Air and 1978 Mandeville Canyon fires.
The mandatory evacuation area still: Temescal Canyon Road as the west border, Sunset Boulevard as the south border, Mulholland as the north border and the 405 as the east border.
Containment remains at 5%, but the southbound 405 Freeway that had been closed much of Monday was able to reopen last night in the middle of rush hour.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said more than 1,100 firefighters remain on the front lines, and worked last night to fight back flareups including on N. Tigertail Drive where several homes were destroyed early Monday.
Red flag parking restrictions return to effect in Los Angeles at 8 PM tonight as the Santa Anas and low humidity are forecast to return. Garcetti said during the news conference that 70 mph gusts are possible.
Today’s “primary objective is to increase containment” ahead of the worsening conditions, Los Angeles Fire chief Ralph Terrazas said Tuesday.
Last night, the fire in Los Angeles’ Sepulveda Pass has stabilized at 618 acres Monday as lighter winds cooperated. One community under mandatory evacuation — Mountain Gate, south of Mulholland Drive — was reclassified as a voluntary evacuation zone and allowed to repopulate.
At least five homes have burned and mandatory evacuations have been in effect for more than 10,000 homes in the Brentwood and Westwood areas of Los Angeles due to the Getty Fire, which erupted at 1:34 AM Monday.
On Monday, fire officials said at least eight homes have been destroyed and five damaged. Garcetti said “there is an active arson investigation” but noted that just determines the cause of the fire and “doesn’t necessarily mean somebody has set it.”
Among the evacuees in the tony neighborhood were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter.
“Apparently everything around me is burning the f*uck down,” Sutter tweeted from Brentwood.
Schwarzenegger also tweeted about being evacuated early Monday morning after the fire first broke out.
Earlier, Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Assistant Fire Chief Jaime Moore said that if the Santa Ana winds-driven fire jumps the fire retardant line established by fixed-wing aircraft, “the area between Temescal Canyon and Topanga Canyon — we’ve asked [people] to be ready [to evacuate].”‘
He noted that firefighters are taking advantage of advantageous weather conditions, as winds died down and temperatures are much cooler.
Moore also noted that if the winds had shifted as forecast, the fire could threaten Mandeville Canyon, a heavily populated area that hasn’t burned since 1978. Back then, a 38,000-acre blaze destroyed more than 225 homes, killed three people and injured more than 50.
No fire-related deaths or injuries had been reported from the Getty Fire, whose cause is unknown but started at Getty Center Drive and the southbound 405 Freeway.
According to local news reports, homes were burning in the 1100 Block of N. Tigertail Road, and by 2:40 AM evacuations were ordered for the Mountaingate and Mandeville Canyon communities. The evacuation zone later extended to the west to Temescal Canyon Road.
Here are the evacuation centers, with Westwood and Van Nuys turning into shelters Monday night:
* Palisades Recreation Center (851 Alma Real Drive)
* Westwood Recreation Center (1350 South Sepulveda Boulevard)
* Van Nuys / Sherman Oaks Recreation Center (14201 Huston Street)
* Stoner Recreation Center (1835 Stoner Avenue)
* Cheviot Hills Recreation Center (2551 Motor Avenue)
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