A blaze that broke out Tuesday in the hills below Griffith Observatory as dozens were visiting the busy tourist destination has been extinguished, officials said.
The flames were first reported at about 7:45 p.m. on a hillside just northwest of the observatory and grew to cover 3 or 4 acres before they were put out two and a half hours later, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
A crowd of spectators gathered outside on the observatory deck to watch its progress, though it later appeared that authorities had cleared bystanders from the area. Some tourists said it was quite the show on their first visit to the iconic landmark.
"We came with my friend to check out the observatory and the sightseeing and the view," said Andrew Rozsa, who had never been there before. "When we started to go back, we saw the huge smoke. As the fire approached us, everybody was getting a bit nervous."
Tourist Isabelle Hautefeuirre described the incident as "crazy" but decided to make the best of the situation.
"I wasn't expecting that to happen but it's great, I can take pictures," she said.
Several engines were positioned in the tourist hot spot's parking lot to push back the blaze should it ascend that far. Large columns of smoke had billowed northeast over the Santa Monica Mountains toward Glendale.
The small patch of tall flames was attacked aerially with water drops and by firefighters on the ground. The fire was moving at a slow pace but difficult to knock down due to its remote location and the heavy brush it was burning in, officials said.
Crews were expected to remain on scene overnight to continue mopping up hot spots.
No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported, LAFD said.