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Los Angeles brush fire forces evacuation of Griffith Observatory; suspect detained

A brush fire broke out in Los Angeles on Tuesday, prompting the evacuation of the iconic Griffith Observatory before scores of firefighters contained the blaze.

A suspected arsonist was detained by police, although he has not been arrested, LAPD told CBS.

The fire broke out around 2:45 p.m. local time and was initially confined to a small 50-by-100 foot area in the 2600 block of North Nottingham Avenue, LA fire officials told CBS.

By 4 p.m. the fire spread to about 6 acres, but it was quickly contained by roughly 100 firefighters who responded to the scene.

“Nearly all active flame has been eliminated and forward progress stopped after one hour and twelve minutes,” the fire department said.

Video from the scene shows flames and smoke rising near the observatory, which was built in 1933. Staff were evacuated as the fire began rapidly spreading.

“Griffith Observatory has now been evacuated and Park Rangers are assisting with public safety by keeping hikers from entering the nearby trails. No homes have been evacuated,” the fire department said in a statement.

A helicopter dumps a water drop over a brush fire near Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on May 17, 2022.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Two water-dumping helicopters were deployed to put out hotspots, video shows.

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