Brush Fire Burns 25 Acres, Griffith Observatory Closed Today

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Griffith Observatory will be closed today because of a fire in Griffith Park that burned 25 acres and was 90 percent contained.

According to a notice posted on the Observatory's website ``The Observatory's grounds, roads, lots and trails and the areas around the Greek Theatre and Western Canyon will also be closed.” It's unclear if the Observatory would reopen on Thursday.

The fire was first reported at 2:09 p.m. Tuesday, northwest of the observatory and was initially estimated at about two acres. By about 3:30 p.m., the progress of the blaze was halted, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott, who said a ``handful” of vehicles were damaged or destroyed along Observatory Road.

As of about 8:15 p.m., the fire was 90 percent contained with 25 acres burned, Scott said.

Helicopters from the city and county fire departments made water drops as about 200 firefighters on the ground battled the flames, which burned amid light winds in ``light, flashy fuels” and were described by LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey as topography-driven.

The observatory was evacuated, according to the city Department of Recreation and Parks. About 2,000 people were evacuated from the landmark and some were shuttled aboard buses to pick up their vehicles, Scott said.

Two firefighters were assessed for exertion-related complaints and one was taken to a hospital for further evaluation, Humphrey said.

A concert at the Greek Theatre by the electronic duo Sylvan Esso went on as planned.

Some crews were released three hours after the fire was reported and Scott said drones would be used to monitor hot spots and remote fire-affected areas.

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