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Wildfire sparks evacuation of Los Angeles' Getty Centre

Raging wildfires caused Los Angeles' famous Getty Centre museum to be evacuated Wednesday. The museum holds some of the world's most well known works of art.


AFP - Los Angeles's world famous Getty Center was evacuated Wednesday as an out-of-control wildfire raged in mountains near the landmark museum, authorities said.

Fire department officials said the evacuation burning in tinder-dry brush near the city's Sepulveda Pass broke out shortly before 1:00 pm (2000 GMT).

By 4:00 pm the fire had scorched 80 acres (32 hectares), a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Fire Department said.

There were no reports of injuries and no properties were threatened by the blaze, fire department spokesman Erik Scott told AFP.

Some 250 firefighters were deployed to tackle the blaze, backed by several water-dropping helicopters, Scott said.

Getty Center spokesman Ron Hartwig said 800 staff members and 1,600 visitors were evacuated.

"We obviously act on the side of taking precaution and we felt that the right thing to do was to evacuate our staff and visitors," Hartwig said, adding the museum would remain closed for the day.

The Getty Center is home to a priceless collection of pre-20th century European paintings and other works of art, most notably Vincent Van Gogh's 1889 oil on canvas "Irises," among the most expensive paintings ever sold.

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