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Published: Thursday, 10/23/2008

Wildfire threatens Getty art museum

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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

Nearby I-405 was closed for about four hours but reopened at 6 a.m., as the morning rush was getting under way. Even so, 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, Mr. Myers said.

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

A blaze at the base of Mount Baldy, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, burned 115 acres Thursday afternoon. It was about 30 percent contained by nightfall.

The fire was burning uphill and away from nearby homes, said Jesse Estrada, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.


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