The Getty fire was sparked by a tree branch that fell on power lines, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced

The Getty fire was sparked by a tree branch that fell on power lines, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced at a news conference Tuesday evening.

Video footage shows the branch breaking off a eucalyptus tree and sparking the fire in the 1900 block of North Sepulveda Boulevard, Garcetti said.

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The power lines being examined are operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, according to a fire official. The agency said it was cooperating with the investigation.

Unlike Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison, the state’s largest power providers, the DWP does not shut off service to customers before or during a wind event, in part because the utility covers an urban area.

“Our systems are completely different,” Andrew Kendall, senior assistant manager of the DWP’s power system, said at a board meeting earlier this month. “We have a 465-square-mile service territory. PG&E’s is 70,000 square miles, Edison is 50,000 square miles.”

Kendall said the DWP is “in an area where we’re no more than a five- to seven-minute LAFD response. So right now, at this time and based on previous history, we don’t feel we’re at a point where it’s prudent to do a shutdown.”

The Getty fire broke out shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday along the 405 Freeway near the Getty Center and spread to the south and west, rapidly burning more than 600 acres and sending thousands of people fleeing from their homes in the dark.

About 600 DWP customers in the Getty fire area remain without power on Tuesday.

At about 3:19 a.m. Monday, the utility took three circuits out of service, resulting in 2,600 customers losing power in Bel-Air, Brentwood and Westwood. One of the circuits is still de-energized. The other two have been turned back on, said Carol Tucker, a spokeswoman for the utility.

Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said that, despite firefighters’ efforts, eight homes, including some on Tigertail Road, have been destroyed in the blaze. Six others were damaged. Some homes that were destroyed were adjacent to properties that didn’t sustain any damage at all, he said.

“They were literally overwhelmed,” Terrazas said of crews fighting the fire within neighborhoods. “They had to make some tough decisions on which houses they were able to protect. Many times, it depends upon where the ember lands.”

The neighborhoods around the Sepulveda Pass have seen more than their share of fires over the years — and residents say they know to be on guard.

In the hills surrounding Danny Cahn’s home, fires have a history of blazing out of control. In 1961, when Cahn was a preschooler, residents had to flee an inferno that swept through Bel-Air and Brentwood, destroying 484 homes.

The Getty fire was sparked by a tree branch that fell on power lines, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced

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