Page last updated at 00:36 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 01:36 UK

LA bush fire closes Getty Museum


Fire crews and helicopters are battling the blaze

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from the world-famous Getty art museum in Los Angeles as a bush fire rages in nearby mountains, officials say.

The fire broke out around 1300 local time (2000 GMT) and spread to at least 80 acres (32 hectares) of hillside near the Getty Centre car park.

About 200 fire-fighters are battling the blaze. No homes are threatened, California fire officials said.

The museum, home to priceless works like Van Gogh's Irises, remains closed.

Some 800 employees and 1,600 visitors to the hilltop complex in the Santa Monica Mountains were being shuttled away, a spokesman told the Associated Press news agency.

Ventilation systems were shut down to prevent smoke damage to the museum's priceless art collection.

A bush fire in the mountains near Santa Barbara in October last year destroyed 80 homes and forced 30,000 people to flee.

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