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Skirball Fire Now 85 Percent Contained, All Evacuations Lifted

Posted: Monday, December 11, 2017 – 11:06 AM

The six-day-old, 422-acre Skirball Fire in the Sepulveda Pass was 85 percent contained Monday, and all evacuation orders have been lifted, fire officials said.

Containment lines around the  blaze improved to 75 percent on Saturday and grew 10 percent on Sunday, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The fire broke out at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday on the east side of the San Diego (405) Freeway near Mulholland Drive. It destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others, and at one time prompted the evacuation of about 700 homes and an apartment building. One firefighter suffered neck burns and was treated at a hospital, authorities said. Another firefighter suffered minor injuries.

The initial acreage was adjusted downward from 475 acres due to more accurate mapping, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. The fire has been kept on the east side of the 405 Freeway.

Some evacuees were allowed to return home Friday, and mandatory evacuation orders were lifted Sunday afternoon for all areas affected by the Skirball fire, according to Stewart. All road closures have been lifted, with no restrictions in place, she said.

Evacuation orders covered a 3.2-square-mile area bounded by Mulholland Drive to the north, Sunset Boulevard to the south, the San Diego Freeway 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.

The Getty Center and the nearby Skirball Center, both on the west side of the freeway, reopened Friday, when classes at UCLA, Cal State Northridge, Los Angeles Valley College and Santa Monica College resumed.

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 Friday. They are expected to be open Monday.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District closed all of its schools Wednesday and Thursday. Schools in Santa Monica reopened Friday, but Malibu schools remained closed, although they will be back in session Monday.

What sparked the Skirball Fire has not been determined.

The fire burned 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 clear brush around properties.

CNS-12-11-2017 02:18

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