I was compelled to cancel my Food Cluster discussion sections for today — our final sections for the quarter — because UCLA cancelled all classes. The fire is still active in the hills immediately above UCLA (that is, Bel Air); but it is likely more important that much of the area between the active fires and Westwood is highly vulnerable to burning itself, so the situation remains unpredictable and dangerous. Further, what is not immediately clear for non-locals from news reports I’ve seen, is that the road infrastructure to move out of the Westwood-Brentwood area, should they decide to evacuate in a hurry, would be quickly overwhelmed and congested. The Westwood Blvd – Wilshire Blvd intersection is said to be the busiest in the country, and the stretch of Wilshire between Westwood Blvd and the I-405 among the most congested several hundred meters around. It jams every day during afternoon rush hour, when everyone is trying to leave under the best conditions.
I took 3 the images below on my way into UCLA yesterday, and one of them from the centre of campus a couple of hours after much of the morning smoke had cleared. I believe that the column of black smoke seen is the same as that shown in the second image of this BBC Online story.