A fast-moving wildfire continued to burn with 0% containment in the Angeles National Forest north of Azusa Monday, as officials ordered evacuations and prepared to close the forest entirely this evening.
The Bobcat Fire had burned 4,871 acres after breaking out at 12:22 p.m. Sunday near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area of the forest.
The U.S. Forest Service announced the closure of several national forests due to ongoing fire danger across the state, including the Angeles National Forest. The closure goes into effect at 5 p.m., and will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.
Officials with the National Weather Service said the Mount Wilson Observatory was also under evacuation orders Monday due to the Bobcat Fire.
Other forests ordered closed were the San Bernardino National Forest, Cleveland National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, Inyo National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, Sierra National Forest and Stanislaus National Forest.
Restrictions were also imposed on national forest lands throughout the state that were not ordered to close.
U.S. Forest Service officials said all ignition sources, such as campfires and gas stoves, will be prohibited across national forest system lands in California.
Developed campgrounds and day-use sites in national forests throughout the state will also be closed until further notice.
Monday evening, the unified fire command issued an evacuation warning for residents in the foothills area below the Bobcat fire to be prepared to evacuate if there continues to be rapid fire growth
“Residents following Ready, Set, Go! should have evacuation plans in place, organize their emergency evacuation supplies, and have essential evacuation personal belongings easily accessible. Vehicles should be fully fueled, facing out in their driveways and ready to Go!,” officials said.
“When Incident Command and Law Enforcement decide to issue an Evacuation Order, residents should be able to quickly gather their families and pets and leave the area to designated evacuation sites, or to family and friends’ homes outside the fire area. Please make those arrangements now. Delaying these preparedness actions will prevent fire crews from suppression activities and compromise the safety of the public and first responders,” officials said.
“Those with large animals, horses and cattle, should begin to move those animals now. Do not wait until the Evacuation Order to begin to move them out of the area. Accommodations are being made for animals at the Pomona Fairgrounds and Santa Anita Racetrack with limited capacity.
“The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously. Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire,” said Randy Moore, regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region.
Efforts were underway to clear vegetation around the Bobcat Fire. Structures were threatened, according to ANF officials, who said five engines, three hand crews, four helicopters, five fixed-wing aircraft and two water tenders were assigned to the fire.
The Glendale (2) Freeway was closed from Mt. Wilson to Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road, and State Route 39 was closed between Old San Gabriel Canyon Road and E East Fork Road, Caltrans reported.
A temporary flight restriction was in place over the fire area, and smoke was fouling the air in parts of L.A. County Sunday evening.
Regulators issued a smoke advisory Monday, warning of unhealthy air quality in the San Gabriel Mountains, the east San Gabriel Valley and the Pomona-Walnut Valley.
“It is difficult to tell where smoke, ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of these particles in the air, so we ask everyone to remember that smoke and ash can be harmful to health, even for people who are healthy,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, health officer for Los Angeles County. “If you can see smoke, soot, or ash, or you can smell smoke, pay attention to your immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard your health. These precautions are particularly important for children, older adults, and people with heart or lung diseases.”
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