Firefighters Battle Blaze in Historic L.A. Park
Los Angeles firefighters were making progress on Wednesday in containing a fast-moving brushfire that swept through Griffith Park, forcing evacuations of the park and nearby homes and disrupting traffic.
Helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft were being used to make water drops over the fire that was moving through rugged brush-covered hills in sprawling Griffith Park. More than 200 firefighters were trying to put out the blaze, which was apparently triggered by unseasonably warm temperatures.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Monday night that the fire was being contained thanks to the quick response of the firefighters.
"We should all be thankful ... for the expertise ... and the courage that they demonstrate," he said.
The fire forced officials to place most of the Los Angeles Zoo's 1,200 animals into holding quarters.
"So far the animals are faring fine," said Jason Jacobs, director of marketing and public relations for the zoo. "I haven't heard any reports of anything going wrong."
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the 600-acre fire had been about 40 percent contained.
The wildfire at Griffith Park — a mix of wilderness, cultural venues and trails nestled between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley — was just one that firefighters were battling across the nation. Other fires were burning in northeastern Minnesota and northern Florida and one massive blaze in southeastern Georgia was being called the largest in that state's history.
At the park's Autry National Center, which includes a museum of western artifacts, staff threw tarps over the collections to protect them in case the sprinkler system went off, said Faith Raiguel, chief operating officer.
The fire destroyed Dante's View, a trailside terraced garden on Mount Hollywood, said City Councilman Tom LaBonge. "This is a very sad night for Los Angeles," he told the AP.
Elsewhere in the region, a 300-acre fire near California State University at San Bernardino was 75 percent contained. There were no reports of damages or injuries.
Written by Scott Neuman with reporting from Carrie Kahn and Associated Press.
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