Dubbed #GettyFire on Twitter, the conflagration threatening the Getty Center in LA today is a worse threat that the wildfire that menaced it in 2017. Unlike the previous one (about which I reported here), which was across the 405 freeway from the Getty, this one is “100% on our side of the 405, immediately north and west of us, and on our property [emphasis added],” according to Lisa Lapin, the Getty Trust’s vice president for communications, who responded this morning to my query.
Our property is extensive and includes open space up the hill and in canyons. The wind conditions are serious. We have more fire crews on our property than last time. This time, we have had security on site watching for any spot fires and LA Fire Department is also on site watching for spot fires.”
We believe we are well protected, but it is a serious situation. We are very grateful for the aggressive efforts of firefighters. They have been using air tankers and it is making a tremendous difference. Watching their heroic efforts this morning has been awe inspiring. They have been amazing.
There is no need to move any art. The Getty is much safer in place. Everything is well sealed; there is no outside air is coming in.
We have fully activated our Emergency Operation Center since 2:00 a.m. Jim Cuno [the Getty Trust’s president and CEO] is here, as is our CFO Steve Olsen, myself and a host of security and facilities people. Our overnight security crew has stayed, because reinforcements have to struggle to get here.
The Getty Center is normally closed Mondays and hopes to reopen tomorrow, “if it is deemed safe, depending upon the weather conditions,” according to Lapin. The Getty Villa, normally open Mondays (and closed Tuesdays) is closed today.
The Getty posted this on its Twitter feed this morning to reassure its followers that it is unscathed:
Many have asked about the art—it is protected by state-of-the-art technology. The safest place for the art and library collections is inside.
— J. Paul Getty Museum (@GettyMuseum) October 28, 2019
Meanwhile, the nearby Skirball Cultural Center reports on its homepage that it is “safe from the brushfire in the vicinity. However, due to air quality and road closures, we are closed today until further notice. Please check back here for updates.”
We will. May the fires soon be contained and extinguished!
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