Los Angeles is in the grip of a dramatic set of fires that have already displaced thousands of people and put the city into a state of emergency. But while the Rye, Thomas and Creek fires are by far the most uncontained and the most dangerous, the one drawing the most attention is the Skirball Fire, because it may blow right through the city’s cultural district.
The Skirball fire, which has already shut down the 405 freeway and is destroying homes in the Bel Air neighborhood, is less than a mile from the J. Paul Getty Museum, home to an enormous collection of ancient and medieval artifacts and manuscripts, among other historically valuable items. It’s also less than a mile from UCLA’s main campus and is close to the Hammer Museum and the Annenberg Space for Photography. Thousands of pieces of irreplaceable history and art are one major gust of wind away from burning up, and the wind appears to be pushing the fire south along the freeway, towards Brentwood and Santa Monica.