A blazing hillside brush fire closed part of the 405 freeway in California near the Getty Museum. Many people were using the freeway to drive to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). ABC7 reported that all of the north lanes of the 405 were closed. The iconic Getty Museum was considered threatened by the blaze, which had not yet destroyed any structures on the morning of December 6.
“The brush fire ignited around 5 a.m. CT near 405 Freeway and Mulholland Drive in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. More than 350 firefighters were on the scene with helicopters hovering above as the so-called Skirball fire was 5 percent contained as of Wednesday night” December 7, reported ABC News. The network added, “Authorities have shut down northbound 405 for an “undetermined period” as a result of the blaze and ordered mandatory evacuations for parts of the affluent Bel-Air neighborhood, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.” About 46,000 people were facing evacuation orders as a result of the Skirball Fire, which had burned down at least four homes, according to KTLA-TV.
People posted dramatic photos and videos to social media. Cars were turning around on the freeway. The view from the air was dramatic. The fire was growing rapidly. “Update: The 405/Getty Center fire is now at 50 acres, exploding over the last half hour from only 6 acres,” reported NBC Los Angeles.
KTLA reported that the lanes were closed near Mulholland, and people should avoid the area. An NBC metereologist wrote on Twitter, “New SoCal fire burning along the 405 just north of #Brentwood. Fire is growing rapidly and near heavily populated areas. No word on Getty Center or Muesum which is dangerously close.”
“A dramatic 10-acre brush fire erupted Wednesday morning in the Sepulveda Canyon of Los Angeles, forcing the closure of all northbound lanes 405 Freeway,” ABC7 reported, adding, “The blaze was reported shortly before 5 a.m. near Mulholland Drive, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The location is near the Skirball Cultural Center and the Getty Center.” Flames burst from hillsides near the freeway.
“Traffic Alert: All northbound lanes on the 405 at Bel Air Crest Road are closed until 6 a.m. due to a brush fire near the Getty,” reported KPCC. People on social media described how their car windows felt hot due to the proximity of the blaze to the 405. According to CBS LosAngeles, “The 50-acre fire was first reported at 4:50 a.m. on the east side of the northbound lanes, where there are a number of schools and condominium complexes, across the freeway from Skirball Center Drive.” The television station reported that the fire was moving uphill and was not “wind-driven.” However, some reported that wind was helping drive the blaze.
You can see the CalFire map of California wildfires here:
The 405 blaze generated some dramatic photos as people snapped pictures out their car windows. Ventura County, California has been under threat since December 4 from a fast-moving, wind-driven, massive brush fire known as the Thomas Fire. It’s forced the evacuation of thousands of people near Santa Paula and destroyed homes. The cause of the hillside fire is not yet known. People described the smell of smoke “getting stronger.”
As the 405 is a major artery, many expressed frustration on social media. “Oh great!? Fire off of the 4 or 5 hour FWY aka the 405 near the Getty Center aka strange weirdness center. If this FWY shuts down, just stay home up no one will be going anywhere. 8 am call, seriously thinking of heading to Alta Dena now and sleeping in my car,” wrote one man on Twitter. Others lamented the “traffic nightmare.” Wrote one woman, “What a traffic nightmare is about to ensue on my old commute through the 101/405 corridor!!”