Wildfire near LA's Getty museum contained

Thursday, October 23rd 2008, 1:49 pm
By: News 9

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A wildfire burned 100 acres of brush and grass near the world-famous Getty art museum before it was doused early Thursday without causing any damage or injuries, fire officials said.

Nearby Interstate 405 was closed for about four hours but reopened toward the end of the morning rush. Traffic on freeways and surface streets throughout Los Angeles were clogged, jammed with motorists who had sought ways around the fire.

The fire erupted around 12:50 a.m. on a steep urban hillside about two miles from the Getty Center.

The center, which houses one of the world's richest art collections and a research institute, was closed for the day as a precaution, and nearby Mount St. Mary's College canceled morning classes.

About 400 firefighters and eight water-dropping helicopters fought the flames for about seven hours before the blaze was declared knocked down at 8:16 a.m., Fire Department spokesman Ron Myers said.

Crews were expected to remain at the museum throughout the day to douse any remaining embers that could flare up if dry, hot Santa Ana winds returned, Myers said.

"They are still working a scratch line around it, making sure they extinguish all the hot spots," he said.

Winds gusted to 50 mph in some areas of Southern California on Wednesday. It was breezy near the Getty Center with predawn winds between 15 mph and 20 mph, but after sunrise, they eased off.

The museum is about 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)