California

‘Get the hell out.’ Los Angeles Getty Fire burns 618 acres, forces thousands to flee

The fast-moving Getty Fire burned more than 600 acres along Interstate 405 in Southern California on Monday, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an evening update, explaining that the blaze “has been moving largely in a westward direction, fanned by Santa Ana winds.”

The fire forced thousands to evacuate, including basketball star LeBron James and his family, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Flames have destroyed eight structures and damaged five, according to firefighters.

“They had to make some tough decisions on what homes they were able to protect,” LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said, describing fire crews as “literally overwhelmed,” according to KTLA.

The fire broke out at 1:30 a.m. near the Getty Center museum, KABC reported.

“Since we last did a briefing at noon, the good news is that this fire has not grown at all,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a 5 p.m. news conference.

But the blaze is only 5 percent contained, according to Garcetti.

“For the great majority of folks, we are not repopulating tonight,” Garcetti said.

James posted on Twitter early Monday that his family is among the evacuees, calling California wildfires “no joke.”

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Other famous evacuees include “Avengers” star Clark Gregg and “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter, Variety reported.

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote on Twitter that he also fled the flames.

“We evacuated safely at 3:30 this morning,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “If you are in an evacuation zone, don’t screw around. Get out. Right now I am grateful for the best firefighters in the world, the true action heroes who charge into the danger to protect their fellow Californians.”

Schwarzenegger’s ex-wife, Maria Shriver, also had to evacuate her home, People reported.

Evacuation centers have been set up at the Westwood Recreation Center at 1350 S. Sepulveda Blvd. and Van Nuys / Sherman Oaks Recreation Center at 14201 Huston St., KNBC reported.

Additional shelters are open at Stoner Recreation Center at 1835 Stoner Ave., Palisades Recreation Center at 851 Alma Real Drive and Cheviot Hills Recreation Center at 2551 Motor Ave., the Los Angeles Times reported. All Santa Monica and Malibu schools are closed, and the University of California, Los Angeles, canceled classes Monday.

“Get out when we say get out,” Garcetti said at a 5 a.m. press conference, NBC News reported. He said some homes had already been lost.

“If you’re in the mandatory evacuation zone, and you’re still there watching this, you’re an idiot, get the hell out,” L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz added, KCBS reported.

Interstate 405, one of the nation’s busiest and most traffic-clogged highways, also has been shut down, according to the network.

Students at Mount St. Mary’s University in Brentwood were awakened at 2:30 a.m. and told to evacuate, making their way down a hillside wearing breathing masks against the smoke and ash, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“It’s very surreal,” said evacuee Chad Elbert as he watched the fire’s glow in the predawn hours, according to the publication. “It’s like a scene out of a movie.”

More than 470 Los Angeles firefighters are battling the blaze, NBC News reported.

The $1.3 billion Getty Center opened in 1997, housing the Getty Museum and other programs of the Getty Trust. The museum houses oil billionaire J. Paul Getty’s “collection of European paintings, sculpture, drawings, illuminated manuscripts and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the 20th century,” according to Brittanica.com.

Several major wildfires are raging across California, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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