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Brush fire near Getty Center 90% contained; Sepulveda Boulevard closed

July 9, 2009 |  7:56 am

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Firefighters continued efforts this morning to stamp out a slow-moving brush fire near the Sepulveda Pass that burned 80 acres and forced evacuations from the Getty Center and Mt. St. Mary's College. The fire was 90% contained this morning.

SepulvedaThumbSepulveda Boulevard remained closed between Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard, said Erik Scott, spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. At least two freeway off-ramps -- Getty Center Drive and Skirball Center Drive --on the northbound 405 Freeway also remained closed.

No structures were threatened, Scott said, but the Los Angeles Police Department issued voluntary evacuations for surrounding homes. The fire broke out about 12:44 p.m. Wednesday in the 1200 block of Getty Center Drive, where flames gradually moved up canyon walls and into the hillsides.

The fire appeared to have been sparked accidentally during a midday weed-abatement program, fire authorities said. As a precaution, Getty museum officials evacuated 1,600 visitors and 800 employees, said Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig.

More photos About 75 attendees of an eight-day national conference were evacuated from nearby Mt. St. Mary’s College. Fire authorities did not know when the fire would be fully contained.

At one point, about 350 city and county firefighters as well as helicopters were attacking the fire by ground and air.

“Firefighters are there right now, trying to create a barrier,” Scott said.

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: Hilltops charred by fire overlook the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass near the Getty Center. The fire, which started Wednesday afternoon, burned 80 acres and forced evacuations from the Getty and Mount St. Mary's College. It was 90% contained by Thursday morning, though Getty Center Drive remained closed. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times) >>More photos

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