Skirball Fire

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Skirball Fire
A shot of the Skirball Fire from West Hollywood, shortly after its ignition
LocationBel Air, Los Angeles County, California
Date(s)December 6, 2017 (2017-12-06) – December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15)
Burned area422 acres (171 ha)
CauseIllegal cooking fire
Buildings destroyed6
DeathsNone reported
Non-fatal injuries3 firefighters
Late afternoon aerial view from October 2017, showing the hilly Bel Air neighborhood, immediately north of University of California, Los Angeles along I-405, where the Skirball Fire is burning in early December 2017. The lake is Stone Canyon Reservoir.
Map of the Skirball Fire and adjacent fires
Location of the Skirball Fire

The Skirball Fire was a wildfire that burned in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, United States, and one of multiple wildfires that broke out across Southern California in December 2017.[2] The fire burned 422 acres (171 ha)[1] of land on the slopes of the Sepulveda Pass on its east or Bel Air side, causing the closure of Interstate 405 (as well as the parallel Sepulveda Boulevard), a major traffic artery in the city. The Skirball Cultural Center, Bel-Air Country Club, Getty Center, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and various private schools were closed as a result of the fire. Classes were cancelled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Santa Monica College, while Mount Saint Mary's University evacuated from its Brentwood campus to its downtown Los Angeles location.[3][4][2][5][6] The fire destroyed six structures and damaged 12.[7] On December 10, at about 1 p.m. PST, all evacuation orders and road closures for the Skirball Fire were lifted, as containment of the wildfire increased to 85%.[8] Late on December 15, it was reported that the Skirball Fire had been 100% contained, at 422 acres (171 ha).[9]

On December 12, it was reported on that the fire had been sparked by an illegal cooking fire at a homeless encampment within the pass.[10]

During the Skirball Fire, firefighters in the LAFD employed drones to help them combat wildfires for the first time.[11]

This fire threatened the home of Frank Luntz, the Republican political consultant who had previously sought to downplay the severity of the climate change crisis. He later cited this experience as an "example of the climate crisis made personal", and shifted his viewpoint to advocate for climate action.[12]

Containment progress[edit]

Fire containment status[13]
Date Acres burned Containment
Dec 6 150[14]
Dec 7 422[15]
Dec 10 422[16]
Dec 11–13 422[9]
--- --- ---
Dec 15 422[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Margaret Stewart (December 15, 2017). "Skirball Fire Update". Los Angeles Fire Department. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Etehad, Melissa; Nelson, Laura J.; Kohli, Sonali (December 6, 2017). "Homes burning in Bel-Air as 150-acre fire closes the 405 Freeway and forces evacuations". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  3. ^ Saperstein, Pat (December 6, 2017). "Homes Burning in Bel-Air; 405 Freeway Closed Near Skirball Center". Variety. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "Skirball Fire Forces Mandatory Evacuations, Shuts Down 405 Freeway". CBS Los Angeles. December 6, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  5. ^ Bush, Samantha (December 6, 2017). "UCLA cancelled classes due to the traffic from the Skirball fire. Students remain concerned about safety, finals". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  6. ^ "Skirball Fire grows to 475 acres, 5 percent containment". Southern California Public Radio. December 6, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  7. ^ Margaret Stewart (December 10, 2017). "Skirball Fire Update". Los Angeles Fire Department. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  8. ^ Alejandra Molina (December 11, 2017). "All Skirball fire evacuations lifted in Bel-Air as wildfire holds at 75 percent containment". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "Skirball fire in LA 100 percent contained". Los Angeles Daily News. December 15, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  10. ^ "Skirball Fire caused by illegal cooking fire at encampment, LAFD says". ABC7. December 12, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Hailey Branson-Pott (December 14, 2017). "L.A. Fire Department used drones for the first time during Skirball fire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  12. ^ "Frank Luntz, the GOP's message master, calls for climate action". Grist. July 26, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  13. ^ "Skirball Fire Update". LAFD.
  14. ^ "Skirball Fire Update, December 06, 2017 9:30 am". LAFD. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  15. ^ "Skirball Fire Update, December 07, 2017 5:00 pm". LAFD. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  16. ^ "Skirball Fire Update, December 10, 2017 9:00 am". LAFD. Archived from the original on December 10, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

External links[edit]