The Getty Fire in Los Angeles erupted early Monday and is forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes as winds reach extremely dangerous levels in Southern California.
Burning in the hills north of Los Angeles’ famous Getty Center, the Getty Fire, which started just before 2 a.m. local time, has consumed over 600 acres. The Getty Center and Getty Villa are safe, but many houses were ablaze.
Mandatory evacuations are in effect in Los Angeles from the 405 freeway to the ocean — which spans some of the most expensive real estate in the city. Southbound lanes of the 405 freeway, the busiest highway in the country, are now closed.
In Los Angeles’ upscale Brentwood neighborhood, fire crews put out fires on multiple homes early Monday as the sky glowed orange from the flames and dense smoke.
Horrible situation on #tigertail right now in #Brentwood – have counted 6 homes on fire and there’s likely more. The #GettyFire continued to burn out of control in the hills of Brentwood. Stay with @ABC7 for live coverage pic.twitter.com/u8IZM9eN1c
LeBron James said he was among those forced to evacuate from his home overnight.
My best wishes as well to the first responders⛑ right now doing what they do best! 🙏🏾💪🏾
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he also evacuated in the middle of the night.
We evacuated safely at 3:30 this morning. If you are in an evacuation zone, don’t screw around. Get out. Right now I am grateful for the best firefighters in the world, the true action heroes who charge into the danger to protect their fellow Californians. #GettyFire
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s parents also evacuated, and the mayor Monday morning urged anyone in an evacuation area to leave immediately. He said multiple homes were destroyed.
“We’ve seen fires and tragedies were people have believed they could stay,” Garcetti said. “Do not do that. The only thing you cannot replace is you and your family.”
NIGHT BRUSH FIRE 10/28/19 @LACoFireAirOps Firehawk helicopter using night vision technology to assist @LAFD with the #GettyFire in the Sepulveda Pass. Follow @LAFD for updates. pic.twitter.com/CDsgGHVjUw
Roughly 25,000 people live in the evacuation zone, the mayor said.
Natalie Rodriguez, a nursing student at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, said she woke up to the smell of smoke just before 2 a.m.
“Even inside the dorms it was very smoky and it was hard to breathe,” Rodriguez told ABC News. “You could feel the heat from the flames that were so close to us on the other side of the mountain.”
“It was just a very scary experience,” she said. “Something that I didn’t think I would ever have to experience.”
As she and her roommates fled campus, the sky was bright orange — even though it was the middle of the night. Rodriguez said she safely evacuated to her family’s home.
UCLA has canceled Monday classes.
The origin of the quickly spreading blaze is under investigation but Garcetti said it was not caused by homeless encampments.
Officials warned that the blaze won’t come to an end on Monday. Throughout the day, the conditions in Los Angeles will be extremely dangerous for fire growth.
Wind gusts reached 66 mph in the Los Angeles area early Monday and could reach 50 mph through the evening. Red flag warnings are in effect through the day.
Gusty winds and dry conditions can cause an existing fire to behave erratically and any spark could quickly expand into a major blaze.
This is the scene in #Brentwood – top of #tigertail on streets like sky lane, chickory Lane and Canna. Some homes here are still standing, but counting 4 that are destroyed #gettyfire @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/RU8cNmMGEP
Winds are expected to die down in Southern California on Tuesday before returning on Wednesday.
The Getty Fire is just one of the dangerous blazes burning in the Golden State.
In Northern California, the monster Kincade Fire has been burning since Wednesday night and has consumed over 66,000 acres in the heart of wine country.
Nearly 200,000 people have evacuated as the massive inferno rages on. Rough winds, which peaked at 102 mph, contributed to the Kincade Fire rapidly growing over the weekend. Containment fell from 10% to 5%.
Ninety-six structures have been destroyed and tens of thousands are still threatened.
Over 4,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, and two firefighters suffered burn injuries, including one seriously.
All Sonoma County public schools are closed Monday and Tuesday.
Winds are forecast to weaken in Northern California on Monday, giving fire crews a chance to tackle the massive blaze. But critical fire conditions are expected to return to the region on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing gusts up to 40 mph.
ABC News’ Matt Gutman, Alyssa Pone, Alex Stone, Melissa Griffin and Marilyn Heck contributed to this report.