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Getty Center evacuated as firefighters battle Sepulveda Pass blaze [Updated]

July 8, 2009 |  1:37 pm

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More than 150 firefighters are battling a brush fire that broke out around 1 p.m. in the Sepulveda Pass near Getty Center, which has been evacuated. Mount St. Mary's College in Brentwood was also evacuated.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said the fire has burned more than 10 acres and is moving north. The fire was jamming traffic on the nearby 405 Freeway. Scott said no structures are immediately threatened at this time.

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Four water-dropping helicopters are fighting the fire, which was reported at 1200 Getty Center Drive.

This is the same general area where a large brush fire burned through last year, forcing the closure of the 405 Freeway. That fire brought a huge fire department response, and no structures were damaged.

[Updated at 2 p.m.: Ron Hartwig, vice president of communications, says they are evacuating employees and visitors from the Getty Center. Visitors are taking the tram to get their cars, then they are driving up the hill to the South Gate, to keep the main entrance clear. It’s just a precaution, he says. The fire is on the hillside west of the entrance.

At Mount St. Mary's, no classes were in session, but 200 people renting out facilities there are being removed. About 100 staffers were also taken out.]

[Updated at 3 p.m.: The Getty Center is closed for the day. Officials said it could reopen Thursday if the fire is extinguished.]

-- Ruben Vives, Gerrick Kennedy, Suzanne Muchnic

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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