The Skirball Fire in the Sepulveda Pass and Bel-Air was about 20 percent contained Thursday, and officials said some evacuated residents would be allowed to return home Thursday evening.
The fire, which was reported at 4:52 a.m. Wednesday on the east side of the San Diego (405) Freeway near Mulholland Drive, has burned about 475 acres, destroyed four homes and damaged 12 others while prompting the evacuation of about 700 homes and an apartment building.
Santa Ana winds continued to hamper the firefighting effort, but lesser gusts allowed firefighters to make progress containing the blaze.
One firefighter suffered neck burns and was treated at a hospital, authorities said.
Red flag parking restrictions meant to keep streets open for firefighting equipment will expire at 8 a.m. Friday, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas.
The fire has been kept to the east side of the freeway.
Evacuation orders had covered a large area bounded by Mulholland Drive to the north, Sunset Boulevard to the south, the 405 to the west and Roscomare Road on the east. The exception to the evacuation order was the Bel- Air Crest housing development, which was not threatened, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Thursday afternoon, Garcetti announced that evacuation orders would be lifted at 8 p.m. for residents on the north side of Casiano Road off Mulholland Drive, Roscomare Road — with the exception of Roscomare at Linda Flora Drive — and streets between Bellagio and Sunset Boulevard.
About 100 officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were sent to the neighborhood to handle evacuation orders and units would remain on duty, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
A citywide police tactical alert, however, was canceled about 5 p.m.
The Getty Center and the nearby Skirball Center, both on the west side of the freeway, did not appear to be threatened, though both remained closed Thursday. Getty officials said both museums will reopen Friday.
UCLA, Cal State Northridge, Los Angeles Valley College and Santa Monica College all canceled classes Thursday. UCLA officials said university medical facilities remained open.
Classes and campus activities were to resume at all four schools on Friday.
All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley and some on the west side of Los Angeles — a total of 265 district schools and charter schools — were closed Thursday and will remain shuttered Friday. A full list of closed schools was available at www.lausd.net.
To assist families affected by the closures, the LAUSD planned to set up special centers between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with meals available for students, at:
— Byrd Middle School, 8501 Arleta Ave. in Sun Valley;
— Reseda High School, 18230 Kittridge St. in Reseda; and
— Palms Middle School, 10860 Woodbine St. in Palms.
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District closed all of its schools Wednesday and Thursday. Schools in Santa Monica were expected to reopen on Friday, but Malibu schools will remain closed, the district announced.
The fire was burning in the same general area as the devastating Bel- Air Fire of 1961. That blaze destroyed about 500 homes and led to various policy changes, including a prohibition on wood-shingle roofs and the strict requirement to remove brush from around properties.
–City News Service
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: