- Multiple wildfires are raging across Southern California, with thousands of people being evacuated and many homes being destroyed.
- They’re getting close to the Getty Center, home to countless historic artifacts.
- The museum is uniquely safe from fires, according to the J. Paul Getty Trust’s VP of communications.
Fires are ravaging the hills of Los Angeles, and the flames seem to be on the doorstep of the city’s famous Getty Center.
The series of wildfires have already displaced 200,000 people and are expected to last until Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
The Getty – one of the most popular museums in the world with more than two million people visiting per year – may now be in peril, as it lies close to the path of the flames. As the museum is full of priceless antiquities, many are understandably worried that it could be destroyed by the fires.
Ron Hartwig, VP of communications for the J. Paul Getty Trust, which manages the museum, told CNN that there is probably nothing to fear.
“The building was designed to be the best place to keep an art collection,” Hartwig said.
The collection includes priceless works by Rembrandt, Manet, and Van Gogh.
The building was actually built with disasters like wildfires in mind. It features copious amounts of travertine stone and metal, plus a ventilation system that can reverse to keep smoke out of the building. Shades are built into the windows and can drop down to prevent fire from getting in. There’s even a million-gallon water tank.
“This is the safest place the artwork could be in a situation like a wildfire. While we are worried and will be until the last ember is out, we believe the art collection is in the safest place they can be,” Hartwig said.
The landscaping was also designed with fires in mind, with brush further away from the buildings and water-heavy trees nearer.
The 405 freeway separates the center from the current nearest fire, and firefighters have been attacking the fire vigorously.
As of Wednesday night, the fire had moved further east, away from the Getty.
- Wikimedia/Robert F. Tobler