Multiple wildfires devastate the Pali community

Tommy Berman, Copy Editor

The Getty Fire, which took place within mere miles of Pali, shook the community as October came to a close. The resulting school closures led administrators to modify the school schedule for the remainder of the fall semester.

The fire was first reported in the early morning hours of Monday, Oct. 28 along the west side of the I-405. Strong winds throughout the night blew the fire uphill. The fire was named the Getty Fire due to its proximity to the famed Getty Center. 

Evacuations began at around 2:45 am that day, with the borders of the Mandatory Evacuation Zone being Temescal Canyon Road to the west, Sunset Boulevard to the south, Mulholland Drive to the north and the I-405 Freeway to the east. As containment increased in the following days, evacuations lifted for areas in the south and west. 

Pali remained closed from Oct. 28 to Oct. 31 due to the evacuations and the poor air quality, according to the school website. On Friday, Nov. 1, students returned to school for an All Classes Meet schedule.

Several thousand people were left without power while evacuations were taking place, according to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Senior Ish Chadha, a resident of Tigertail Road, one of the streets closest to the fire, said, “I didn’t have a lot of time to take things [during the evacuation].” Chadha also described the sky as “bright orange,” with “smoke everywhere and even embers falling from the sky.”

Others were skeptical about why they had to evacuate in the first place. Senior Stu Brien, who lives on Corsica Drive, said, “Police were knocking on our doors at 2 a.m. The only things I got were some school stuff and some important family items.” Brien said that his family was worried not about the fire reaching the house, but rather by the potential for looters. 

According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Getty Fire was fully contained by Nov. 5, but had burnt approximately 800 acres. Faulty electrical equipment which fell during high wind was determined to be the cause of the fire.

The previous week, Pali remained open in spite of a smaller fire in the Highlands.

Closer to Pali on Oct. 21, firefighters responded to a call of a brush fire near 500 Palisades Drive. The fire spread from 10 acres to 40 acres in less than an hour, prompting mandatory evacuations in adjacent streets. The streets that were evacuated were Charmel Lane, Bienvenida Avenue, Merivale Lane and Lachman Lane.

The LAFD allowed residents to return home later that same day, when the fire was sufficiently contained.

LAFD and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) responded, mobilizing both ground and air support to protect homes and contain the fires.

The fire season is expected to last until early winter, according to Cal Fire. The LAFD encourages people to review the “Ready Set Go” program, which can be found on the LAFD website, in order to protect themselves and their families.