Griffith Park fire burns 10 acres, forces evacuation of Griffith Observatory
A brush fire burned more than 10 acres in Griffith Park Tuesday afternoon, sending hundreds of visitors at the nearby observatory scrambling to get away from the smoke.
A Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman said no structures were threatened during the blaze, but video posted to Twitter showed towering flames that appeared to be within a few hundred feet of the main courtyard in front of the Griffith Observatory.
The footage showed the visitors moving away from the flames while some filmed the blaze with their cellphones.
Firefighters and park rangers evacuated the observatory due to the smoke and asked residents to stay away from the park during the fire. Brian Humphrey, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman, said firefighters also needed to use the observatory grounds to maneuver their vehicles.
Some of the evacuees who were separated from family were sent to the nearby Greek Theater to be reunited.
- MAP: Where the Griffith Park fire is burning is Los Angeles
Humphrey said in an alert that the brush fire was first reported at 2:09 p.m., sweeping through grass and light vegetation in a steep area of the park.
The fire, dubbed the Griffith Park fire, was located northwest of the observatory.
Firefighters who responded were dealing light winds on Tuesday, but Humphrey said the fire was being driven by topography. By just before 4 p.m., Humphrey said the fire was still smoldering about one quarter of a mile from the observatory.
Breaking: Firefighters are battling a brush fire in Griffith Park. The fire is zero percent contained and is sending smoke plumes into the Los Angeles area. pic.twitter.com/yEsCnHGDaj
— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) July 10, 2018
The fire burned 10 acres within an hour, but ground and air crews making water drops were able to stop its progress. Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter that the response was “well coordinated” and that no structures were lost or damaged. The mayor also said some cars parked near the observatory may have been damaged from the heat of the flames.
Garcetti said firefighters would continue to perform mop up work on the fire for the rest of the day.
Los Feliz Boulevard was closed from Vermont Avenue to Hillhurst Avenue. Humphrey asked sightseers to steer clear of the fire, and to not try to get closer to bring donations to firefighters.