Getty Fire Puts Community on High Alert
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
On the heels of the Getty and Palisades fires, community members are invited to a Public Safety Town Hall on Saturday, November 9, at 10 a.m. with Councilmember Mike Bonin and LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas at Paul Revere Charter Middle School.
“The purpose of the town hall is to discuss this wildfire season and recent events and to introduce community members to some of the department’s firefighting resources and gear,” Bonin’s Brentwood-Palisades Deputy-Environmental Liaison Lisa Cahill shared ahead of the event. “Additionally, it’s an opportunity for the councilmember and the fire chief to discuss evacuation routes (and instances when the LAFD would open them), brush clearance and other public safety matters.”
A new helicopter and various trucks plus gear will be on display.
The Town Hall, which is subject to being rescheduled, depending on fire conditions and the current demand of LAFD resources, is slated to start with a meet and greet on the school’s athletic field, followed by a discussion with the councilmember, fire chief and LAFD’s Brush Clearance’s Patrick Hayden. The event will end with a Q&A.
The town hall closely follows the Getty fire—which first broke out Monday, October 28, near 1:30 a.m. and burned through 745 acres of brush in the Sepulveda Pass—prompting evacuations and closures throughout the Palisades.
The fire had nearly reached full containment as the Palisadian-Post went to print Tuesday, November 5.
Palisadians who were evacuated since the fire first broke out were allowed to return back to their homes on Wednesday evening, October 30, around 5 p.m., leaving the only remaining mandatory evacuation orders in Brentwood, which were lifted Friday morning.
At the height of evacuations, which extended from the 405 freeway to Temescal Canyon Road, Mulholland Drive to Sunset Boulevard, more than 10,000 homes and commercial buildings were affected.
Community members who were not allowed back into their neighborhoods for more than a few minutes with a police escort on Wednesday expressed concern at why many of the tenants at Palisades Village, which was in the mandatory evacuation zone through that evening, remained opened.
“A number of our tenants have made the decision to remain open to serve our local community, as have other businesses in the area,” a representative from Caruso said. “While we are supportive of those that have elected to open, we have not required them to do so.
“Our hearts and prayers are with our neighbors who have been impacted by the Getty fire. We are so grateful to the LAFD and LAPD who have been working around the clock to keep us all safe. These are the everyday heroes that make us all feel proud to call Los Angeles our home.”
Over the course of the weekend, firefighters took advantage of the favorable weather conditions that followed a red flag warning of critical fire conditions that began late Tuesday night and extended through Thursday evening.
Los Angeles Unified School District schools—Palisades Charter Elementary, Marquez Charter Elementary, Canyon Charter Elementary and Paul Revere Charter Middle—returned to school on Halloween day, October 31. Palisades Charter High School, in an “abundance of caution,” reopened on Friday, November 1.
The Getty Center museum and Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades remained closed through Friday, with both reopening on Saturday morning.
Last Tuesday afternoon, October 29, authorities confirmed that the fire was caused by gusting winds that severed a tree branch and blew it onto a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power electrical line, causing sparks that fell onto the brush below.
The Getty fire destroyed 10 homes and damaged 15 others. Five firefighters suffered minor injuries.