The Bobcat Fire burned downhill toward communities in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday, as firefighters worked overnight to keep flames from threatening populated areas that remained under evacuation warnings.
The fire has burned 31,991 acres in the Angeles National Forest and is 6% contained, with full containment not estimated until Oct. 15, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
A smoke advisory remains in effect through Monday in most of Los Angeles County and parts of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, as the fire spews smoke and ash into the atmosphere, creating unhealthy conditions.
The blaze burned downhill toward Monrovia and north toward State Route 2 in the Buckhorn Area, with “significant” western growth towards Mt. Wilson, Angeles National Forest officials reported.
“The #BobcatFire is most active near Big Santa Anita Canyon. Crews, supported by aircraft, will engage in strategic firing along the SW edge of the fire. Smoke will clear out earlier than previous days, increasing fire activity,” they tweeted Sunday morning.
Officials said that as air conditions allow, helicopters were being used to support ground forces, and that Sunday’s focus would be on keeping the fire south of Highway 2 and west of Highway 39.
Abnormally dry fuels were leading to extreme fire behavior and rapid rates of spread.
The Bobcat Fire, which erupted on Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area, prompted evacuation warnings for Monrovia, Arcadia, Bradbury, Sierra Madre, Altadena, Duarte and Pasadena.
An evacuation order was also issued for Camp Williams.
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.
Los Angeles officials were opening “Smoke Relief Centers” at the following Department of Recreation and Parks sites from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday:
— South LA Sports Activity Center, 7020 S Figueroa St.
— Branford Recreation Center, 13306 Branford St., Arleta
— Lemon Grove Recreation Center, 4959 Lemon Grove Ave.
— Glassell Recreation Center, 3650 Verdugo Road.
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.
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