A smoke advisory is in effect through Sunday in most of Los Angeles County and parts of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties due to the Bobcat Fire burning in the Angeles National Forest that has blackened 29,245 acres and remains only 6% contained.
“Fire crews will continue to focus on increasing containment lines along the south end of the fire to protect the foothill communities,” officials said Saturday. “Local fire departments will continue to conduct structure protection within the foothill communities. Crews will also be working on the north end to keep the fire south of Highway 2 and west of Highway 39.”
The Bobcat Fire, which erupted midday last Sunday near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area, prompted evacuation warnings in seven San Gabriel Valley foothill communities and was not expected to be fully contained until Oct. 15.
Firefighters worked into the overnight hours to hold the fire just above West Fork on Highway 39 while strengthening containment lines and slowing progress of the fire from moving farther south toward foothill communities, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
“The eastern portion of the fire was burning downhill and entering into a burn scar from the Ranch2 Fire, creating less intense fire behavior for firefighters. Much of the western side of the fire was entering an old burn scar as well, which reduces the rate of spread,” firefighting officials said.
The Ranch 2 Fire broke out Aug. 13 near Azusa and has burned 4,237 acres. It was at 93% containment this weekend.
“The recent Ranch 2 Fire, Fish Fire and the 2009 Station Fire are helping to slow fire progression, however the Bobcat Fire continues to burn north and east where there is no fire history in the last 80 years and in the San Gabriel Wilderness,” the Forest Service said.
The most activity was in the north and south ends of the fire, the U.S. Forest Service said.
Evacuation warnings remain in effect in the foothill communities of Duarte, Bradbury, Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Pasadena, Altadena and Arcadia.
An evacuation order was issued for Camp Williams.
The Angeles Crest Highway 2 was closed from Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road to Big Pines, Highway 39 was closed at Old San Gabriel Canyon Road, and Glendora Ridge Road, Glendora Mountain Road, and Mount Wilson Road were closed.
Smoke and ash were expected in portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties, and unhealthy or higher Air Quality Index levels due to particulate matter concentrations are possible in areas of direct smoke impacts through Sunday, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Los Angeles County health officials announced that some COVID-19 testing centers would be closed this weekend due to health concerns stemming from the unhealthy air quality.
Testing sites at East L.A. College in Monterey Park, the Pomona Fairplex and San Gabriel Valley Airport in El Monte were closed Saturday and Sunday, while the site at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita will be closed Sunday.
Officials with the Los Angeles Zoo said Saturday that the zoo would be closed Sunday and Monday due to the unhealthy air.
“The Zoo hopes to reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 15, but we will continue to monitor air quality advisories issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and adhere to air quality safety guidance for safely reopening,” officials said.
They added that staff was closely monitoring the animals who reside in outdoor habitats, but based on past fire events in the Los Angeles area, they did not anticipate any air quality issues to affect the animals.