Firefighters Battle Los Angeles Park Brush Fire

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A massive brush fire erupted near the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon, sending thick plumes of smoke into the air as firefighters hurried to contain the blaze.

City and county fire department helicopters, as well as over 200 firefighters were part of a “well-coordinated air + ground assault” that made water drops from the air and battled the flames on the ground, fire officials said in a tweet.

The fire covered 25 acres of vegetation in Griffith Park and is 80 percent contained as of 5:20 p.m. PST, according to Los Angeles Fire Department officials.

The cause of the fire remains unclear, officials said.

The blaze was first reported around 2 p.m., according to LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey, who said the fire was driven by “topography.”

The park, one of the largest urban parks in the nation, features many popular tourist attractions such as the observatory and the Greek Theatre.

Fire officials urged the public to evacuate the area by taking Western Canyon Road and meeting at a reunification point set up at the Greek Theatre. Road access to non-residential areas is very limited, officials said.

The blaze did not pose an immediate threat to any of the structures nearby, fire department officials said Tuesday through LAFD’s Twitter account.

Over 2,000 visitors near Griffith Observatory were “calmly evacuated by Police and Park Rangers” due to drifting smoke, LAFD tweeted, adding that no more than six vehicles were “damaged or destroyed along Observatory Rd.”

LAFD spokesperson Capt. Erik Scott said on Twitter that firefighters “stopped forward progress” of the vegetation fire at 3:30pm.

“Hose lines are around the fire. No structures threatened. No injury,” Scott tweeted. “A few vehicles burned. 2000+ evacuated from #GriffithObservatory to #GreekTheatre and will be bussed back to their vehicles to exit area.”

LAFD said that access routes to vehicles left behind by people forced to evacuate the area will be coordinated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

A concert scheduled for Tuesday evening by electronic pop duo Sylvan Esso will go on as planned, according to the band’s official Twitter account.

“The folks at The Greek are working hard to get everything started and open on time,” the band tweeted. “Traffic may be a little slower than usual so please be patient. Thanks so much to LAFD and the first responders for keeping everyone safe!”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to thank fire officials for controlling the blaze.

“Incredible job from our @LAFD on swiftly and effectively fighting the #GriffithParkFire,” Garcetti tweeted.

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