Fire burning in Sepulveda Pass

The strong Santa Ana winds - reaching near hurricane force - have helped the fire spread across over 60,000 acres, mostly in Ventura County, which is about 70 miles outside of LA.

A fast-moving brush fire near the Getty Center in Los Angeles forced evacuations and shut down part of a major freeway, as a series of devastating Southern California blazes continue into a third day.

A number of wildfires were burning in the Los Angeles County area, but the Sylmar "Creek Fire" was the biggest.

More than a dozen shelters have been set up to help evacuated residents.

"We have no reports of any civilian fatalities or injuries, which speaks to the fact people are evacuating", county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.

Shortly before 7 a.m., the California Highway Patrol closed the entire 405 Freeway between the Ventura (101) Freeway and the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, along with on-ramps and off-ramps and freeway transition roads in the affected area.

Firefighters were said to be hiking up the hill from the Getty Center exit, with flames raging near the renowned art museum, next to the northbound 405 freeway, to survey the extent of the fires, which are reportedly zero percent contained. Evacuations were initially ordered in the area north of the 210 Freeway from Glenoaks Boulevard on the west to the border with La Crescenta on the east. The Skirball Fire is in mostly residential areas causing evacuation, and UCLA students were given the option to go to class. A second center is available to evacuees at the Sunland Senior Center at 8640 Fenwick Street.

The Thomas Fire has also destroyed at least 150 structures and was threatening 12,000 other structures.

Evacuation centers have been established at Delano Recreation Center, 15100 Erwin St., Van Nuys; Balboa RC, 17015 Burbank Blvd., Van Nuys; Sherman Oaks RC, 14201 Huston St., Sherman Oaks; and Westwood RC, 1350 Sepulveda Blvd., Westwood. And the Los Angeles Unified School District said the student bodies of Hubbard and Harding schools in Sylmar would be redirected to San Fernando High School at 11133 O'Melveny San Fernando.

More than 125 firefighters were on the scene and that water-dropping helicopters were being used, the newspaper said.

One resident who was evacuated told KTLA he was surprised at how quickly the winds shifted.

  • Marlene Weaver