The Getty Fire has destroyed eight homes. | AFP via Getty Images

1,100 firefighters are working in “some of the most challenging terrain in Los Angeles”

Firefighters are making progress against a fast-moving fire that started near the Getty Center early this morning and quickly seared 618 acres in hillsides west of the 405 Freeway, destroying eight homes and damaging six more.

Much of the wind-driven Getty Fire has been extinguished, but hot spots continue to smolder, and crews are still trying to dig lines around the blaze, which is 5 percent contained. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said 1,100 firefighters aided by retardant-dropping aircraft are working in “some of the most challenging terrain in Los Angeles.”

With a temporary lull in winds, the perimeter did not grow this afternoon.

“We’re making good progress,” Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said this evening.

Mandatory evacuation orders for many of the 10,000 homes issued this morning remain in place. The boundaries are: Temescal Canyon Road on the west; Sunset Boulevard on the south; Mulholland Drive on the north; and the 405 Freeway on the east.

Garcetti said that given Tuesday night’s wind forecast and past fire behavior in the area, some residents should be prepared to remain out of their homes for “two nights at least.”

As of 5 p.m., however, residents in Mountaingate were allowed to return with IDs. Evacuations in that community are now voluntary.

Investigators are still working to pin down a cause, but Garcetti said he could confirm “it was not caused by a homeless encampment.”

The “very dynamic fire,” which ignited around 1:35 a.m. near Getty Center Drive, quickly moved west. The Getty Center, where firefighters are stationed to assist with logistics for helicopter operations, is not threatened. But the museum is closed today and Tuesday due to the fire.

Many residents in the area awoke before sunrise to the smell of smoke and the sounds of emergency cell phone alerts and police sirens, then fled their hillside homes, from Brentwood to Topanga.


AFP via Getty Images
The Getty Center is seen on the background as the Getty Fire burns in the Brentwood area.

Photographers and TV reporters on scene showed footage of flames shooting out of several homes on Tigertail Road. Terrazas said firefighters protecting homes earlier this morning “were literally overwhelmed.”

“They had to make some tough decisions on which houses they were able to protect,” he said. “It was a very challenging fire.”

Those decisions, he said, hinged in part on where embers landed but also on building construction. Concrete homes, he said, tended to survive.


AP
Firefighters watch as the Getty Fire burns around them.

As of 5:40 p.m., the CHP was reworking to reopen all 405 Freeway closures; northbound lanes were already open.

Sunset Boulevard is closed at Monaco, Mandeville, Rockingham, Bristol, Kenter, Bundy, Barrington, Chautauqua, and Mountaingate, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Topanga Canyon Boulevard has reopened to all traffic, according to CalTrans.


AP
Firefighters try to save a home on Tigertail Road early Monday morning.

Bradley Bermont/SCNG
The fire tore through hillsides west of the 405 Freeway.

UCLA canceled classes Monday and Los Angeles Unified School District closed schools near the fire. Santa Monica College and Santa Monica Unified School District campuses are closed as well.

A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service due to northeast winds and low humidity was set to expire at 6 p.m.

Another potentially “damaging” Santa Ana wind storm is in the forecast late Tuesday into Thursday, peaking Wednesday, when gusts are expected to blow 50 to 70 mph in some areas. The Weather Service said it would likely be the “strongest” Santa Ana storm so far this season.

“I’m always worried about Santa Ana wind conditions, especially when we have a fire that isn’t contained,” Terrazas said. “When wind comes and picks up an ember in the wrong place, we can have a fire starting.”

The Getty Fire is the fourth large fire to burn in Los Angeles this month, all fanned by gusty Santa Ana winds.

“We have not had any significant rainfall for a period of time. That’s why we’re very concerned about these weather conditions,” Terrazas said.

Evacuation centers have been opened at the following locations:

People with animals can go the following locations:

This post is being updated as more information becomes available.

Source: http://feeds.feedburner.com/CurbedLA