A brush fire in the Bel-Air area is seen burning near a structure on December 6, 2017. Photo: KTLA.

Getty and Skirball Centers Close as California Wildfires Prompt Thousands to Evacuate

A brushfire that broke out near the Getty Center in Los Angeles early Wednesday morning led officials to order residents in the Bel-Air neighborhood to evacuate as several homes went up in flames. According to the New York Times, the fire grew quickly with the help of 25-mile-per-hour winds and is expected to strengthen through Thursday. A major portion of the 405 freeway, which runs below the hills on which the Getty and Skirball Cultural Center are situated, was shut down and remains closed as officials try to contain the blaze.

A statement on the J. Paul Getty Museum’s website says that the Getty Center and the Getty Villa have halted operations and closed their doors to the public in order to protect the collections from the fires’ smoke. The Skirball, which the fire near the 405 has been named after, has also announced that it will be closed until further notice due to the smoke conditions. The institution said that it would reimburse anyone who had purchased tickets for events that will be canceled as a result. “Our thoughts are with all our neighbors, and our thanks to the first responders working to keep us safe,” the center posted on Twitter.

Parts of the city of Ventura and the surrounding area have also been evacuated as firefighters continue to battle another fire, dubbed Thomas, which has been raging since Monday. The wildfires have destroyed at least 150 homes so far, displaced 27,000 people, and consumed more than 65,000 acres.

[Update:] Both museums reopened as of Friday, December 8.