150-Acre Skirball Fire Spurs Evacuations, Freeway Closures In California

Colossal flames, blinding smoke, and ash greeted commuters early Wednesday morning (Dec. 6), when a brush fire consumed the hills east of the 405 freeway, prompting mandatory evacuation orders and the complete closures of the popular roadway, according to ABC7. The fire devoured 150 acres and at least four homes near Morega Drive and Casiano Road.

Nicknamed the Skirball Fire, it was reported at 5 a.m. near Mulholland Drive, a five-minute drive from the Skirball Cultural Center. Strong winds helped push the fire uphill, putting homes and residents in danger. Those winds have since settled down, according to Curbed, but mandatory evacuation orders were issued for an area of Bel Air south of Mulholland Drive, North Sunset Boulevard, the 405 and west of Roscomare Road, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Residents living west of the 405 should brace for evacuations as well in the event the flames cross the freeway.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said they’re trying to “stop this fire before it becomes something bigger” like the Bel Air fire of 1961. Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas told Curbed over 500 homes were lost in that tragic fire.

ABC 7 reported 350 firefighters from 52 engine companies were stationed at the scene, supported by helicopters making water drops and six fixed-wing aircrafts.

There are no reports of injuries, but the flames are dangerously close to the Getty Center and buildings nearby. UCLA announced on Twitter the campus is safe and not in the fire evacuation zone.

Simultaneously, other wildfires are blazing in different parts of the Southland including the 65,000-acre Thomas fire in Ventura County, the 11,000-acre Creek fire near Sylmar and Lake View Terrace and the 7,000-acre Rye fire in Santa Clarita area, ABC7 reported.

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