The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather advisory for the Los Angeles area for today and tomorrow
triple-digit temperatures in some areas have heightened fire danger in mountainous areas.
They weren’t kidding. I don’t remember it ever being this hot at the Museum. I heard on the radio that L.A. experienced a a record-breaking 100 degrees F today, so it wasn’t a surprise when a fire started in a canyon across the street from the Museum, around 3:30 pm this afternoon.
Though not in the direct line of the fire the Museum implemented a voluntary evacuation around 4:20 pm.
Brush fires spread fast. The two acre fire quickly spread to twelve acres when we drove by at 4:45 pm, and according to an article in the Long Beach Telegram posted at 8:05 p.m, it had burned about 70 acres, but no homes were in danger.
When we were evacuated, the emergency strobe lights flashed on in the gallery where I was working and the visitors were instructed to immediately head to the exits and leave the Museum. Although they left the galleries, most of the people didn’t leave the building, they stopped at my Satellite Store to shop.
“Sorry we can’t sell anything. As you heard on the loudspeakers we’ve all been instructed to leave,” my co-workers and I told the visitors.
“Just this one book/one cup/one postcard..,” about half a dozen people told us.
“Everyone has to evacuate the building. I can’t sell anything,” I said but they didn’t move from their places in the line. “The store is closed. There’s a fire across the street,” I said as I emptied my cash register.
A few people left, but there were still some stubborn shoppers. My co-worker said, “You must leave. There’s a fire. We are evacuating the museum…”and we carried on taking the cash out of the two registers.
That’s when a Museum volunteer came right up to us, “Please be kind and sell the catalog to this French man,” she said.
The fire started at the worst time for the Friday afternoon commute. The following photos were taken by my carpool buddy Eric with his cellphone as we slowly made our way past the fire on our way home…
Life in Los Angeles is never dull.
Update on Monday: I’m adding a couple of the photos my co-worker Christina Delgado took of the fire on her cellphone. They show how close the fire was to the museum and the houses on the hill.