In what Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti described as “an act of God,” the Getty Fire was caused by a tree branch that fell on power lines.
At a press conference staged near the scene, Garcetti said that investigators had determined the fire was not caused by any equipment failure. Instead, a tree branch near the 1900 block of North Sepulveda Boulevard was broken by strong Santa Ana winds and thrown toward nearby power lines, which sparked, causing the fire.
“That is something we’ll continue to spend the next couple of days to document, but we feel that that is now conclusive,” Garcetti added.
LAFD chief Ralph Terrazas subsequently reiterated that the fire had an “accidental start” and that there was “no evidence of arson.”
The Palisades and Westwood Recreation Centers will remain open overnight as evacuation shelters with beds and food, Garcetti said. The closures of Westbound Sunset Blvd. from the 405 freeway to Temescal Canyon, and southbound Sepulveda Blvd. from Skirball to Sunset Blvd. remain in effect.
Authorities say that strong Santa Ana winds, beginning at 11 p.m. PT on Tuesday, will increase fire risk in the area. The winds will continue into Wednesday, peak at approximately 3 a.m., and likely continue into Thursday.
So far the Getty Fire has burned 656 acres of land; twelve homes have been destroyed and five partially damaged.
The next briefing will take place Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. PT.