LOS ANGELES — 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 burning through three to four acres of brush, near the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Getty Center Drive, both of which were closed, fire spokesman Capt. Jaime Moore told KCAL9 television. Five helicopters were making water drops on the fire north of Sunset Boulevard.
The Getty Center voluntarily closed as a precaution. 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,” said Moore.
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.
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather advisory for the Los Angeles area, saying triple-digit temperatures in some areas have heightened fire danger in mountainous areas. Downtown Los Angeles hit 99 degrees Friday.
The Getty Center is home of one of the world’s major art collections that include works of Cezanne, Rembrandt, Titian, van Gogh, and centuries of illuminated manuscripts. The museum has an array of systems and procedures to protect itself from flames, such as fire-resistant walls, a special ventilation system to keep out smoke, a complex sprinkler system and a backup reservoir.
The area has burned many times, including the fierce Bel Air-Brentwood fire in 1961, one of the most destructive in Los Angeles County history that burned more than 6,000 acres, 484 homes and 21 other structures. It prompted big changes in building and development in the area, such as the abandonment of wood shingle roofs, which turned homes into tinderboxes.