The major brush fire burning near downtown Los Angeles has now destroyed at least eight homes and is still mostly out of control, authorities said Tuesday.

The Getty Fire has blackened more than 600 acres on the hillside overlooking the western part of the city. It began early Monday and quickly grew to 500 acres. Officials said strong winds are making the blaze difficult to get a handle on.

“Firefighters and aircraft have made good progress in slowing the spread of the fire,” the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an update. “Firefighters are actively engaged in structure protection throughout the evacuation zone. Aircraft and dozer teams are continuing to strengthen containment lines.

“We continue to monitor the weather with a Santa Ana wind event scheduled to begin again Tuesday [night].”
Strong winds are expected until at least Thursday. The Getty Fire, named for its proximity to Los Angeles’ famous Getty Center museum, is just 5 percent contained.

Officials said several other homes have been damaged, and thousands are at risk.
“There’s no end in sight for the dry conditions in California at this point,” Evan Bentley, fire weather forecaster at the Storm Prediction Center, said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department saved thousands of homes but firefighters were “literally overwhelmed” and had to make “tough decisions” on which houses to save, LAFD spokesman Erik Scott said. Several of the destroyed homes are located in the affluent neighbourhood of Brentwood.

“We want people to be evacuated, to grab their belongings that have been predetermined, take care of their pets, their medications, their papers and to leave that area because the fire moving right into that area,” Scott said.
In Northern California, the Kincade Fire has burned 74,000 acres and is 15 percent contained.

Wind gusts are expected to reach 50 mph on Tuesday and Wednesday. The fire is located in Sonoma County, part of California’s famous wine country.

“As the containment goes up, the more confidence grows,” Cal Fire Division Chief Jonathan Cox said. “But I would say we are not out of the woods yet.”

Pacific Gas & Electric said it will cut power Tuesday to nearly 600,000 customers in 29 counties as a fire prevention measure. The shutoff could last until Thursday, based on wind forecasts, the utility said.

The company has been switching off power to wind-prone areas in recent weeks, affecting millions of residents.
PG&E said Monday its lines may be responsible for two new fires.

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