The Bobcat Fire is 13% contained Tuesday morning after scorching 106,719 acres and destroying or damaging 29 structures, with authorities fearing the number could rise to 85.
“On Friday, on the 18th, we incurred structure loss … the fire came off of the Angeles National Forest down into the communities of Cima Mesa, Juniper Hills, Pearblossom, and Devil’s Punchbowl,” the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Vince Pena said Monday evening. “We’re still currently aggressively assessing the damage from that.”
Information was not available regarding how many of the structures were homes. The assessment is expected to be completed by Wednesday.
The Nature Center at the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area was burned by the fire, Los Angeles County parks officials said. The area is closed until further notice.
The Bobcat Fire was 13% contained Monday evening, down from the 15% containment reported on Friday.
The blaze advanced again on Mount Wilson Monday while prompting fresh evacuation orders as officials worked to prevent the flames from spreading out of the Antelope Valley foothills.
“Mt. Wilson was a high priority for us (on Monday), that’s actually been a priority for the last few days,” department spokesman Sky Cornell told KCAL9. “We know that our crews worked heavy through (Sunday) night and again (Monday) and they’ll continue to do that through the night.
“We’ve been able to take advantage of our air resources, both fixed wing and our helicopters, and also our ground crews,” Cornell said.
Fire officials said that while the fire continues to burn below the Mount Wilson Observatory and was making “a hard push,” they are employing a variety of techniques to make sure key infrastructure is protected.
“The Bobcat Fire has picked up again and is making its way toward the northwest slope of the Mt. Wilson Drainage. Cal Fire is planning another strategic firing operation on the north/northwest slope of Mt. Wilson. Resources have made their way back to the lower parking lot,” Mount Wilson Observatory representatives wrote on Twitter.
Mount Wilson is home not only one of the crown jewels of astronomy but also home to infrastructure that transmits cellphone signals and television and radio broadcasts for the greater Los Angeles Area.
The National Weather Service reported that winds near the observatory were blowing about 5-10 mph and relative humidity was at about 30%-35% Monday afternoon.
“The area around Mt. Wilson experienced unfavorable wind conditions through the afternoon delaying strategic firing operations,” the U.S. Forest Service said.
Two private drones being flown in the area late Monday morning prompted the 30-minute grounding of a fixed-wing aircraft and the diversion of other aircraft resources to the northwest part of the fire as a precaution, a fire official said.
There was no immediate word on who was operating the drones.
The U.S. Forest Service reported shortly before 2 p.m. that the aircraft was back in the air.
Evacuation orders were added Monday afternoon for residents south and west of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road; east of Angeles Forest Highway; and north of Angeles Crest (2) Highway, according to the sheriff’s department.
Evacuation orders remained in place for residents:
— along Angeles Crest Highway, between Angeles Forest Highway and Highway 39;
— in the unincorporated areas of Juniper Hills, Devils Punch Bowl, Paradise Springs, Crystal Lake, East Fork of the San Gabriel River, and Camp Williams;
— south of Highway 138, north of Big Rock Creek, east of 87th Street East, and west of Largo Vista Road;
— south of 138th Street East, north of Big Pine Highway and Highway 2, east of Largo Vista Road, and west of 263rd Street East; and
— south of Highway 138, north of East Avenue W-14, east of 155th Street East, and west of 165th Street East.
The following areas remained under evacuation warnings as of Monday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:
— unincorporated communities of Altadena and Wrightwood;
— south of Pearblossom Highway, north of Angeles Forest Highway, north and west of Mount Emma Road, east and south of Highway 122, and west of Cheseboro Road;
— south of Highway 2, north of Blue Ridge Truck Trail, east of Highway 39, and west of the Los Angeles County border;
— south of Avenue U-8, north of East Avenue W-14, east of 121st East, and west of 155th Street East;
— south of Pearblossom Highway, south and east of Pearblossom Highway, north and west of Mt. Emma Road, north and east of Angeles Forest Highway, and west of Cheseboro Road; and
— south of Mount Emma Road, north of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road, and west of Pacifico Mountain.
The Wrightwood area in San Bernardino County was also under an evacuation warning.
A total of 1,513 personnel were assigned to the fire as of Monday evening.
A closure order has been issued for national forests in Southern California, including the Angeles National Forest.
The Bobcat Fire erupted on Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area northeast of Mount Wilson and within the Angeles National Forest. The cause remains under investigation. Full containment is not expected until Oct. 30.
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