Officials: Skirball Fire in Los Angeles area caused by 'illegal cooking fire'
City News Service
1:14 PM, Dec 12, 2017
1:38 PM, Dec 12, 2017
LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The seven-day-old Skirball Fire was caused by "an illegal cooking fire at an encampment in a brush area" next to where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the San Diego (405) Freeway, authorities said Tuesday.
The fire, which was 85 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon, scorched 422 acres since it broke out shortly before 5 a.m. on Dec. 6, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported. No one was at the scene of the fire's origin when firefighters arrived, and no one has been arrested.
The flames destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others, and at one time prompted the evacuation of about 700 homes and an apartment building in the Bel- Air area.
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, closed in the immediate aftermath of the fire but re-opened Friday, when classes at UCLA, Cal State Northridge, Los Angeles Valley College and Santa Monica College also 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. The schools re-opened 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 until Monday.
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.