UPDATING: As massive fires rage to the north and east of Los Angeles, a brush fire has broken out east of the 405 freeway near homes and cultural institutions. The Skirball fire has burned more than 475 acres as Santa Ana winds continue to create dangerous conditions.
As of Thursday morning, the fire was 5% contained and had destroyed four homes. The 405 freeway is still open in both directions.
All studios and agencies are open, but most entertainment companies have advised their employees to be cautious and use their judgment about driving in to work.
Chelsea Handler is among entertainment figures evacuating in the Bel-Air area.
The Los Angeles Times reports that four to six homes in Bel-Air have already burned. Numerous mansions owned by prominent entertainment figures are in the immediate area, in addition to Rupert Murdoch’s Moraga Vineyards. Homeowners in the evacuation area include Jerry West, Carla Sands and Katey Sagal and Kurt Sutter. While it’s not known if the homes are under threat, the fire area is also close to the Bel Air Crest development, home to Kathy Griffin, Gordon Ramsey and Babyface Edmonds. Joni Mitchell also reportedly lives within the evacuation area.
The fire started around 5 a.m. in Brentwood. More than 220 firefighters are on the scene, and water-dropping helicopters are being deployed.
The Getty Center, which has an air filtration system to protect its galleries, is closed Wednesday due to smoke from all the area wildfires. The Skirball Cultural Center is also closed, and the center tweeted that ticket holders for “Noah’s Ark” will be issued refunds. Santa Monica-Malibu schools are all closed, in addition to most private schools in the area such as John Thomas Dye and Buckley. UCLA has canceled classes and is experiencing power outages.
An evacuation center is available at Barrington Recreation Center.
Fire resources are stretched thin with firefighters battling an 11,000 acre fire in the Sylmar and Sunland-Tujunga areas and the Thomas fire, which has burned 65,000 acres in the towns of Ventura, Santa Paula and Ojai, and has jumped the 101 freeway.
Commuters posted terrifying video of the hillsides surrounding the 405 freeway covered in fire. Vanity Fair reporter Rebecca Keegan wrote on Twitter, “Car windows are hot.”
The Getty Center said on Twitter that its galleries are protected from the smoke by an air filtration system. The popular museum had already announced Tuesday that it would be closed today due to smoke from other area fires.