Los Angeles

Brush Fire Burns Hillsides in Los Angeles' Griffith Park, Forcing Observatory Evacuation

The evacuation and closure of the Griffith Observatory was precautionary

A brush fire broke out Tuesday in Griffith Park, sending up smoke that could be seen for miles and prompting the evacuation and closure of the nearby Griffith Observatory.

The fire was reported at 2:09 p.m. northwest of the observatory and was initially estimated at about two acres. By about 3:30 p.m., the progress of the blaze was halted, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott, who said a "handful" of vehicles were damaged or destroyed along Observatory Road.

As of about 8:15 p.m., the fire was 90 percent contained with 25 acres burned, Scott said. It was 100-percent contained Wednesday morning. 

Firefighters will remain at the sprawling park to watch for flare-ups and remove thousands of feet of fire hose around the perimeter. 

Helicopters from the city and county fire departments made water drops as about 200 firefighters on the ground battled the flames, which burned amid light winds in "light, flashy fuels" and was described by LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey as topography-driven.

The observatory was evacuated and will not reopen for the balance of the day, according to the city Department of Recreation and Parks. It will likely remain closed Wednesday.

About 2,000 people were evacuated from the landmark and some were being shuttled aboard buses to pick up their vehicles, Scott said.

Two firefighters were assessed for exertion-related complaints and one was taken to a hospital for further evaluation, Humphrey said.

Vermont Avenue and Fern Dell Drive were closed at Los Feliz Boulevard leading into the park, according to Scott, who said anyone already in the park who was separated because of the blaze was advised to rendezvous at the Greek Theatre.

A concert at the amphitheater by the electronic duo Sylvan Esso went on as planned.

Some crews were released three hours after the fire was reported and Scott said drones would be used to monitor hot spots and remote fire-affected areas.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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