Tanker drops retardant
A tanker drops retardant on the Mt. Wilson Fire. Courtesy U.S. Forest Service

A brush fire that threatened the historic Mount Wilson Observatory and dozens of nearby TV and radio broadcast towers in the Angeles National Forest northeast of Los Angeles charred about 30 acres by early Wednesday.

At least a dozen people were evacuated from the structures as the flames neared.

The blaze was 25 percent contained Tuesday night, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Authorities cautioned residents Tuesday night that widespread smoke odor was likely across the Los Angeles area as the fire continues to burn.

Most of the major Los Angeles television and radio stations have their over-the-air broadcast towers along the Mt. Wilson ridge location that provides a clear “line-of-sight” view of the Los Angeles area below. TV and FM radio reception depends on unobstructed views from transmitters to receivers.

The fire broke out for unknown reasons about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday in the general area of Mount Wilson-Red Box Road.

No injuries were reported and no structures were immediately threatened, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported. Deputies from the sheriff’s Crescenta Valley Station helped evacuate the observatory’s employees.

About 140 residents of the Chantry Flats area were notified about the fire, but were not ordered to evacuate, according to Angeles National Forest officials.

More than 200 firefighters were assigned to the fire. According to the U.S. Forest Service officials in Arcadia, Angeles National Forest firefighting personnel and crews from Los Angeles County and CalFire were on the scene.

A SuperScooper aircraft and seven helicopters took part inof the firefighting effort. The helicopters included an Erickson Aircrane helitanker flown by the Los Angeles Fire Department and capable of dropping more than 25,000 gallons of water an hour.

—City News Service

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