The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest has grown 105,345 acres, with just 15% containment, and officials warned Monday that the flames would continue to spread from the Antelope Valley foothills into the communities of Juniper Hills, Valyermo and Big Pine.
Fire officials said that while the fire also continues to burn below the Mount Wilson Observatory, they are employing a variety of techniques to make sure “key infrastructure” is protected.
The U.S. Forest Service on Monday afternoon reported that multiple spot fires spread had across Highway 2 “in several areas.”
A virtual community meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on a YouTube channel (bit.ly/3iQy9zp) set up specifically to provide information about the Bobcat Fire, and will also be streamed on the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Facebook page.
Late Monday morning, two private drones being flown in the area 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. The U.S. Forest Service reported shortly before 2 p.m. that the aircraft was back in the air.
The fire remained active overnight due to poor humidity, and spotting continues to present challenges, according to the Forest Service, but progress was reported on the south end of the fire in the San Gabriel Valley.
“Progress was made on holding containment lines on the south end of the fire. Heavy fire activity took place to the north end of the fire where crews worked on constructing indirect line from the north east coming to the south, as well as the northwest coming to the south,” the Forest Service said. “Dozer line is being constructed to cut the fire off, this work is starting at Camp Singing Pines heading north.”
On Sunday afternoon, fire officials tweeted that the blaze that began more than two weeks ago was “holding west of Hwy 39 from Crystal Lake to the San Gabriel Reservoir,” but that continued winds were pushing both the northwestern and southwestern edges with growth toward the west.
Structures have been lost and damaged in the Antelope Valley, including in the Juniper Hills area, but the number of homes affected was not immediately available.
Los Angeles County parks officials said the Nature Center at the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area was burned by the fire. The area is closed until further notice.
The following areas remained under evacuation warnings as of Sunday evening, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:
— south of Pearblossom Highway, east and north of Angeles Forest Highway, north and west of Mt. 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 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 Mt. Emma Road, north of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road, east of Angeles Forest Highway, and west of Pacifico Mountain.
The Wrightwood area in San Bernardino County was also under an evacuation warning.
On the fire’s southern end, evacuation warnings were lifted Saturday for the communities of Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Monrovia, Bradbury and Duarte in the San Gabriel Valley, while the warnings for Altadena and Pasadena remained in effect.
An American Red Cross evacuation center was set up at Palmdale High School in the Antelope Valley, while the earlier evacuation point at Santa Anita Park for those in the San Gabriel Valley was closed. Anyone still needing assistance is urged to call the Disaster Distress Hotline at 800-675-5799.
Officials said the fire continued to flare up around Mt. Wilson, 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, over the weekend. Once again, though, firefighters were able to protect the area from any damage.
A total of 1,686 personnel are currently assigned to the fire. The Los Angeles Fire Department sent two strike teams under the mutual aid agreement to help fight the Bobcat Fire, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
A closure order has been issued for national forests in Southern California, including the Angeles National Forest.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District extended its smoke advisory through Monday, with officials warning that “smoke may impact different parts of the region at different times.”
The L.A. County Department of Public Health warned Sunday that air quality will be unhealthy through Monday for people in the East San Gabriel Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains. Residents were advised to limit their outdoor exposure as much as possible, and keep doors and windows closed.
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 of the fire is not expected until Oct. 30.
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