Wildfire erupts in LA near I-405 amid high heat

Associated Press Modified: September 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm •  Published: September 14, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A wildfire erupted Friday afternoon in the hills above the Sepulveda Pass on the east side of Interstate 405 amid blistering heat near the Getty Center art museum.

The fire was grown from about 10 acres to 40 acres in less than an hour Friday afternoon, but tall, bright orange flames had given way to thin white smoke, according to fire spokesman Cecil Manresa.

Five helicopters were making water drops on the fire north of Sunset Boulevard, burning near the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Getty Center Drive, both of which were closed.

A pair of state-owned "Super Scooper" aircraft was requested by the city and has begun sucking water from Santa Monica Bay and dropping it on the fire in what should mean a huge boost to firefighting efforts. The bright yellow amphibious CL215 planes can drop up to 3,000 gallons per trip.

The Getty Center voluntarily closed as a precaution. Students and staff at Mount Saint Mary's College just north of the Getty Center have also evacuated voluntarily, school security officer Ricky Ball told the Los Angeles Times.

Television news footage showed the fire was approaching several large homes nestled in a canyon below the enflamed hillsides. No evacuation orders were issued, and firefighters don't anticipate having to tell residents to flee.

"Many of those homes have done extensive brush clearance, they've cleared it about 200 feet from those homes," Capt. Jaime Moore told KCAL9 television.

Breezy conditions blew the smoke over the 405, the freeway that connects West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, where thousands of rush-hour commuters sat in their cars.

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