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Wildfire near Getty Museum contained

October 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A wildfire near the Getty Center museum in west Los Angeles has been contained.Los Angeles fire spokesman Brian Humphrey says the fire started at about 12:50 a.m. Thursday west of the 405 near Getty Center Drive. The fire burned about 100 acres of brush and grass, and briefly threatened homes in the Brentwood area.

The blaze was declared knocked down around 8:15 a.m.

Brush that hadn't burned in decades flared up in the dry air. As the fire raced up the hillsides of the Sepulveda Pass, residents on the ridgeline above feared the worst. Fire officials warned residents to be ready to evacuate.

"Just very scared, scared what's going to happen because if it's going to jump Sepulveda, you know, my house is just up the street or here," said Hamid Shoohed. "So I'm concerned about what's going to happen."

More than 400 firefighters from the Los Angeles city and county fire departments were deployed against the fire. Ground crews and 8 water-dropping helicopters attacked the blaze, which was being driven by the wind in a southwesterly direction.

Water drops from helicopters slowed the blaze down, allowing ground crews to get in place to protect homes.

"The helicopters, which flew at night were very crucial," said Cecco Secci from the L.A. City Fire Department. "What they do is they knock down the intensity of the flame front and they allow the ground crews to go in and work around and mop it up."

Fire crews were expected to work through the day to douse any possible hot spots. They're continuing to drop water on the scorched brush. With a red flag warning in effect, firefighters want to make sure the fire doesn't flare up again and cause more problems.

No structures were damaged and no evacuations ordered. Two evacuation centers were set up for residents choosing to leave their homes.

The 405 Freeway was shut down in both directions for about four hours, but was reopened at about 6 a.m. Traffic was backed up for miles during the morning commute and drivers were urged to take alternate routes.

Authorities warned that the freeway could be closed again at any time if the fire flares up.

The cause of the fire is not known.


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