Los Angeles Wildfire Threatens Getty Museum

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Reports indicated that at least one home had been damaged but firefighters told reporters at the scene that four or five others had also caught fire.

The Skirball Fire is one of several fires burning in southern California since Monday. This year, however, none has fallen in three months - making firefighters' work even more challenging.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed the fire burning on the east side of the freeway; the Getty Center is located west of the 405 Freeway.

More than 150,000 people in Los Angeles were ordered to evacuate in areas affected by the Creek Fire, Rye Fire and Skirball Fire.

Deputy Fire Chief Charles Butler said firefighters and aircraft stopped the growth of the 475-acre blaze in the Bel Air neighbourhood. The southbound lanes of the 405 freeway were reopened about 9 a.m., but the northbound lanes remained closed.

Southern California faces another day of horrifying fire and destruction as the devastating Skirball fire moves west toward Los Angeles.

"We are still in the middle of an aggressive and active firefight on the ground", said Robert Welsbie, spokesman for the Ventura Fire Department.

In San Bernardino County, two smaller fires sprang up.

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The new fire started in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles and was reported to the Frie Department around 5 a.m. local time. The fire so far has burned around 50 acres.

The Conejo Valley Unified School District is closing all schools. Santa Monica-Malibu schools are all closed, in addition to most private schools in the area such as John Thomas Dye and Buckley.

The University of California, Los Angeles announced that classes would be cancelled on Thursday due to the campus' proximity to the fire.

Few evacuees could be found Wednesday in designated shelters at the Cheviot Hills, Westwood and Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks recreation centers, where Red Cross volunteers had food ready, but no takers.

State fire director Ken Pimlott said winds that eased in the afternoon could return with gusts up to 80mph on Thursday that would make it impossible to fight the fire.

The fire's cause hasn't been determined.

Hartwig, who was on site on Wednesday along with about 100 essential staff members, said he was still concerned that heavy winds might blow across the highway toward the Getty.

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