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El Dorado Fire: Blaze Burns More Than 12,000 Acres. Mandatory Evacuations Ordered

Updated
Published
(Courtesy San Bernardino National Forest)

This post is no longer being updated. Get our latest news reporting on the El Dorado Fire>>

    Jump to: Basics | Evacuations | Evacuation Centers | Closures | Additional Resources | Cause

    The El Dorado Fire burning in the San Bernardino National Forest continues to grow, with mandatory evacuation orders now in place for several communities. As of late tonight, fire officials said they were working "to create defensible space between homes and the current fire perimeter" in an area along Oak Glen Road, and in other spots south of Highway 38 and east toward Forest Falls.

    Evacuations were made more complicated this afternoon when the fire jumped over the Highway 38. That prompted one account closely monitoring fire officials response to advise residents to "get out now."

    Firefighters said tonight that they'd successfully defended some homes:

    Here's what we know about the blaze so far today.

    THE BASICS

    • Acreage: 12,474 acres
    • Containment: 18%
    • Resources deployed: 977 firefighters

    The El Dorado Fire began on Saturday with a bang – literally – when a firework from a gender reveal party in Yucaipa ignited a blaze that has threatened thousands of homes and caused the mandatory evacuation of 21,000 residents.

    Air quality warnings have been extended to Thursday, Sept. 10.

    EVACUATIONS

    On Wednesday afternoon, Yucaipa PD announced an immediate evacuation order for Angelus Oaks and the community of Seven Oaks. Evacuees were asked to exit the area via Highway 38 toward Big Bear.

    They followed up with more orders:

    On Tuesday, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department officials advised anyone needing "additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now."

    Mandatory:

    • Areas east of Bryant from Carter South to Yucaipa Boulevard, then east on Yucaipa Boulevard at Bryant intersection to Freemont Street, then south to Grande View Drive, then along Ave E southeast to the intersection of Mesa Grande, east to Wildwood Canyon Road to include all portions of Hidden Meadows, and east to Edgar Canyon Road
    • The portion of the Cherry Valley Community that is north of Orchard Street to the County Line, and east of Nancy Avenue and west of Beaumont Avenue
    • Oak Glen (partial, see road closures), Mountain Home Village, Forest Falls and North Bench Yucaipa (north of Carter Street to Highway 38 and both sides of Bryant Street east & west)
    • Angelus Oaks and the community of Seven Oaks
    • All areas between Angelus Oaks and Onyx Summit
    • North of Valley of the Falls Drive along Highway 38 to Onyx Summit, including the Angelus Oak, 7 Oaks and Jenks Lake Area. Officials advise: "You must drive North to Big Bear, CA as Highway 38 is impacted by fire. Rock slides are also being reported along Highway 38 where the fire has loosened rocks."

    Voluntary:

    • East of Beaumont Avenue east to Hillside Place in the Highland Springs area, north to Cherry Valley Boulevard to the County Line Road.

    EVACUATION CENTER

    • Cafeteria of the Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave. Redlands

    ROAD CLOSURES

    • Highway 38 between Bryant Street in Yucaipa and the community of Angelus Oaks
    • Eastbound Oak Glen Road at Bryant Street
    • Wildwood Canyon Road at Casablanca
    • Eastbound Topaz Street at Bryant
    • Juniper Avenue at Bryant
    • Carter Street at Bryant
    • Fir at Bryant
    • Ivy at Bryant
    • Northbound Fremont Street at Oak Glen Road
    • Eastbound Oak Glen Road at northbound Cherry Croft
    • Eastbound Oak Glen Road at Casablanca
    • Lower Potato Canyon at Oak Glen Road
    • Eastbound Oak Glen Road at Wildwood Canyon Road
    • Wildwood Canyon Road at Mesa Grande
    • Pendelton at Oak Glen Road

    CAUSE

    The family behind the gener reveal party tried to put out the fire and called 911, but it was too late. They have cooperated with authorities, but Cal Fire spokesperson Captain Bennett Malloy says it's possible they could face misdemeanor charges:

    "Some of the laws they could have broken: a public resource code where you cause a fire on somebody else's land, or, in California under a penal code, there's provisions for what's called recklessly causing a fire. And that may be the case with this fire, but that would be up to the district attorney to determine."

    Prosecutors could pursue felony charges if someone is hurt or killed, or if homes are damaged by the fire, though no charges had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon.

    A RECORD FIRE SEASON

    If it feels like the fires are worse this year, it's because they are.

    According to Cal Fire, more acres in the state have burned in 2020, than any other year in over the past three decades (since statewide figures have been tracked).

    And we have three more months to go.

    Courtesy CalFire

    HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

    This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

    For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

    FIRE RESOURCES

    YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

    Bobcat Fire: Now More Than 19K Acres, Evacuation Warnings Remain In Place For Foothill Communities

    Updated
    Published
    (Courtesy Angeles National Forest)

    This post is no longer being updated: Follow our live coverage of the Bobcat Fire today >>

    Jump to: Basics | Evacuations | Weather Conditions | About Mt. Wilson | Additional Resources

    Evacuation warnings remain in place for several cities and communities in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains as firefighters continued to battle the Bobcat Fire, which broke out Sunday above the city of Azusa and quickly spread into the Angeles National Forest.

    Here's what we know so far today:

    THE BASICS

    • Acreage: 19,796 acres
    • Containment: 0%
    • Resources Deployed: 652 firefighters on scene, including 35 engines, 19 hand crews, two helicopter and two planes

    The brush fire erupted near the Cogswell Dam and then spread rapidly amid an intense, record-breaking heat wave, prompting evacuation orders for Mt. Wilson Observatory. The cause is under investigation.

    Firefighters' goal for today was to keep the blaze west of Highway 39, east of Mt. Wilson, north of foothill communities and south of the Angeles Crest Highway, according to the incident action report. In an evening update, fire officials reported the goal to keep it from crossing the highway had fallen short:

    "The fire made a big push today, as the offshore winds pushed the fire to the east and crossed Hwy 39."

    Local fire departments continued to plan for protecting structures and officials reported that "nighttime operations will continue into the evening to monitor fire behavior and growth."

    Although conditions were poor earlier in the day for aircraft, later the smoke lifted and "two air tankers, including a DC-10, were able to make several drops of fire retardant on the southwest portion of the fire." The fire fight was bolstered late in the day by two more "hotshot crews" and another helicopter.

    The Angeles National Forest is closed to the public through Monday, Sept. 14, officials said. State Route 39 is closed at Old Gabriel Canyon Road, as is State Route 2 east of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road To Islip Saddle.

    This map from L.A. County shows the burn zone and where evacuation warnings have been issued.

    EVACUATION WARNINGS EXPANDED

    Shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, the evacuation warnings were expanded to include residents living in the following foothill cities and communities:

    • Duarte
    • Bradbury
    • Monrovia
    • Arcadia (residents can call 626-574-5463 for more information on impacted areas)
    • Sierra Madre (residents can call 626-355-1414 for more information on impacted areas)
    • Pasadena
    • Altadena

    "Residents should have evacuation plans in place, organize their emergency evacuation supplies, and have essential evacuation personal belongings easily accessible," U.S. Forest Service officials wrote on the fire incident page. "Vehicles should be fully fueled, facing out in their driveways and ready to leave. Please make those arrangements now."

    Those warnings remain in effect today, and a fire official said it's up to the individual city or county governments to rescind them.

    Update: At approx. 5:30 p.m., evacuation orders were lifted for Arcadia residents north of Foothill Boulevard and east of Santa Anita Boulevard.

    Officials say the fire has "generally progressed away from the city of Arcadia.''

    SHELTER SITES

    According to L.A. County officials, a shelter area for horses has been established at the Pomona Fairplex (entrance at Gate 12).

    Yesterday, the L.A. chapter of the American Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at Santa Anita Park, which remains open today.

    WEATHER CONDITIONS

    A Red Flag Warning is in effect throughout much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties today, and may be extended into Thursday for some areas.

    The Santa Ana wind event we've been sounding the alarm about didn't quite materialize this morning, but winds have started picking up as of Wednesday afternoon.

    The winds are expected to shift north later today and fan flames away from foothill communities to the south.

    Expect higher than normal temperatures through the end of the week and the weekend, but nothing like we experienced on Sunday.

    Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.

    Smoke advisories have been extended to Thursday Sept. 10.

    ABOUT MT. WILSON

    The Mount Wilson Observatory houses 18 telescopes, many of which were used to make some of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the last century.

    They include the 100 inch Hooker telescope that Edwin Hubble used in the 1920s to prove that our universe is still expanding.

    Observatory Director Tom Meneghini said he's afraid they could be seriously impacted if the fire gets close enough.

    “The heat can do irreparable damage. Our two big telescopes are historically significant and irreplaceable,” Meneghini said.

    However, he said fires have gotten close before and the decades-old firefighting setup at the Observatory is ready to be used again.

    "We have an inground system of hoses and pumps," he said. "We have half a million gallons of water ready to pump so that’s all been prepared for any fire professional to come in and take over."

    The fire also threatens a seismic station that has recorded earthquake activity for 100 years, seismologist Lucy Jones said via Twitter.

    Numerous television and radio stations have transmitters in the area, including our newsroom which broadcasts on the radio at 89.3 KPCC.

    A RECORD FIRE SEASON

    If it feels like the fires are worse this year, it's because they are.

    According to Cal Fire, more acres in the state have burned in 2020, than any other year in over the past three decades (since statewide figures have been tracked).

    And we have three more months to go.

    Courtesy CalFire

    HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

    KPCC reporters Emily Guerin, Jacob Margolis and Sharon McNary and LAist digital producer Ryan Fonseca are contributing to this reporting.

    This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

    FIRE RESOURCES

    YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

    Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

    Dijon Kizzee Family Spokesman Calls On Coroner To Override 'Security Hold' On Autopsy

    Updated
    Published
    Protesters denouncing the killing of Dijon Kizzee. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

    A spokesman for the family of Dijon Kizzee today called on the coroner to release his autopsy, despite a "security hold" placed on the report by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

    Two deputies shot and killed the 29-year-old Kizzee during an altercation on Aug. 31, sparking daily protests.

    The department typically requests a security hold to prevent the release of an autopsy until it has finished its investigation of a case, in part because detectives worry releasing it could taint witnesses' accounts.

    But Kizzee’s family wants the autopsy released now, said its spokesman, Najee Ali.

    "We say he was shot unjustly and we are hopeful the autopsy results will reveal what really happened," he told a news conference.

    The family is questioning the official story that deputies killed the Kizzee when he allegedly made a motion toward a gun they say he had dropped.

    Once Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas completes his investigation into Kizzee’s death, he will "evaluate the security hold request" and decide whether to comply with it, based on his office's policies, spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani told us. She said she did not know how long Lucas' investigation will take.

    This summer, Lucas took the highly unusual step of overriding the security hold in another controversial deputy shooting: the June 18 killing of Andres Guardado. That autopsy revealed that a deputy shot Guardado five times in the back.

    The Kizzee family’s attorneys plan to conduct an independent autopsy as soon as the coroner releases the body, Ali said.

    He also called for Sheriff Alex Villanueva to release the names of the deputies who shot Kizzee. The sheriff has sometimes waited months before revealing the names of deputies involved in shootings.

    Ali said Villanueva has not yet reached out to Kizzee's family. "He has met with no one," he said.

    Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

    First The Pandemic, Now Raging Wildfires: How To Cope With The Stress Of It All

    Updated
    Published
    (Jude Beck via Unsplash)

    The stress of fire season is nothing new for Californians. But this year, it’s layered on top of the anxiety we’ve been feeling for months about the coronavirus pandemic.

    "Depleted." That’s how UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Emanuel Maidenberg described the mental state of many people he’s interacting with these days.

    What he calls the one-two punch of the virus and the fires has left a lot of people with depression.

    "More and more people are likely to experience some longer-term effects as well," Maidenberg said.

    Poor air quality due to fires means less outdoor exercise — that’s one less thing we can do to stay mentally healthy.

    The photos of apocalyptic red haze showing up in our social media feeds aren’t helping either.

    Maidenberg suggests disconnecting a bit more right now, and instead ramping up self-care routines, such as meditation and breathing exercises.

    "Whatever it is that you do, try to do more of that, not less of that," Maidenberg said. “[The] natural tendency with stress of this kind is to do less of it."

    It’s also important to keep things in perspective, he said. While COVID-19 may be with us for quite a while, at least the fires will eventually burn out. At least that's something.


    ASK FOR HELP

    If You Need Immediate Help
    If you or someone you know is in crisis and need immediate help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go here for online chat.
    For more help:

    Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

    Audit: Homeless Housing Paid For By Taxpayer-Backed Initiative Still Expensive, Slow To Build

    Updated
    Published
    Homeless encampments in Koreatown, photographed on June 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (James Bernal for KPCC) James Bernal

    An audit released today by L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin warns homeless housing supposed to be built with Proposition HHH funding is now even more expensive and more behind schedule than it was last year.

    How slow? Only three buildings totaling 179 supportive housing units have opened. The controller warns that just 19% of the remaining units proposed will be ready for occupancy by the beginning of 2022.

    How expensive? The median per-unit cost of HHH housing is now $531,000, up from $521,000 last year, according to the report. (The median home sale price in Los Angeles County, for context, is about $643,000)

    Also concerning, the audit reports that about three-quarters of the HHH projects are still in ‘predevelopment’ four years after taxpayers passed the funding initiative. Auditors warn that the coronavirus-driven recession might just tank some of the projects outright.

    The controller advocates shifting course, and reprogramming some percentage of the $1.2 billion to be spent on more interim infrastructure, like temporary shelters and bridge housing.

    The money supplied by Proposition HHH is intended to help boost the production of low-income housing in Los Angeles.The city promises bond money to low-income housing developers in written commitments. Developers then use those letters from Los Angeles to leverage other funding sources like grants and private investors.

    But financing for Low Income Housing Tax Credit housing/apartments, which is technically what HHH is for, is notoriously complicated. It takes years for developers to arrange funding, typically from several different sources, for even just one building.

    That reality has Galperin urging that some of the HHH money should be redirected. In his letter addressed to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer and the L.A. City Council, Galperin wrote:

    “City leaders should pivot to a viable plan that would spend available HHH dollars in these ways:

    • Build more interim housing and facilities:​ Stopgap measures will not end homelessness but will get thousands of people off the streets more rapidly while supportive units are built, and help meet health, hygiene, sanitation and storage needs.
    • Prioritize adaptive reuse:​ The City should pursue alternative development strategies that could prove cheaper and faster to complete, including acquisition or adaptive reuse of existing buildings, like hotels/motels, and unused commercial and office space.

    Read the full audit:

    Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

    Watch: The Future Of Local News. How To Foster More Diverse — And Relevant — Newsrooms.

    Updated
    Published
    A row of newspaper stands in Hollywood in 2000. (Dan Callister/Getty Images)

    Los Angeles is a kaleidoscope of small communities and areas, all with differing information needs. How does local media address the needs of diverse communities and better reflect the audiences they're designed to serve? How can they pivot to support local information ecosystems beyond what has been previously imagined?

    This installment of our #FutureOfLocalNews virtual event series in partnership with USC Annenberg. covered strategies for amplifying community voices and the types of educational and professional pipelines needed to support more diverse — and relevant — newsrooms.

    Our newsroom's director of community engagement Ashley Alvarado will be joined by:

    • Outlier founder and executive editor Sarah Alvarez
    • L.A. Taco editor-in-chief Javier Cabral
    • USC Annenberg adjunct lecturer and L.A. Times audience engagement editor Adriana Lacy

    No Halloween Trick-Or-Treating In LA County This Year

    Updated
    Published
    No Halloween trick or treating this year. (Ben Shan/Unsplash)

    Forget the treats, 2020 is all tricks.

    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recently released its 2020 Halloween guidelines, and the restrictions are grim. Necessary, but grim.

    Trick-or-treating is not recommended, for instance, and there's a lot more that you won't be able to do this Halloween season.

    READ THE FULL STORY:

    Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

    Morning Briefing: Wildfires Ravage The State

    Updated
    Published
    The orange sky at Vermilion Valley Resort in the Sierras as the Creek Fire neared (Courtesy of Adrienne Chenette)

    Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

    Wildfire season has swiftly come upon us, with two major fires burning in the L.A. area. The Bobcat Fire is moving quickly through the Angeles National Forest, with more than 10,300 acres burned and no containment. The El Dorado Fire — that’s the one started by what officials called a “smoke generating pyrotechnic device” at a gender reveal party — is at 16% containment in the San Bernardino National Forest, and has burned 10,500 acres.

    If this sounds like a lot of fire in a short period of time — even by recent California standards — that’s because it is. At his briefing today, Gov. Gavin Newsom said there have been 7,606 wildfires in California this year so far, and roughly 2.3 million acres burned. That’s compared to just under 5,000 fires and 118,000 acres burned in all of 2019.

    The blazes have caused evacuations and, in some parts of California, hikers have been forced to flee from their trips or have even become trapped. Meanwhile, if you've looked outdoors, you’ve probably noticed that the skies are grey and there’s ash raining down in some parts of the region.

    Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

    Jessica P. Ogilvie


    Coming Up Today, September 9

    Los Angeles is a kaleidoscope of small communities, all with differing information needs. How does local media address the information needs of diverse communities and become more reflective of the audiences they're designed to serve? Watch the next installment of KPCC/LAist’s #FutureOfLocalNews series, with a panel of guests discussing strategies for amplifying community voices and supporting more relevant newsrooms.

    Never miss an LAist story. Sign up for our daily newsletters.


    The Past 24 Hours In LA

    Wildfires: The El Dorado Fire has burned more than 10,500 acres and is at 16% containment. The Bobcat Fire has burned over 10,300 acres. Thick smoke and flames forced many hikers to cut their trips short and flee the area, while others got trapped. A red flag warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Wednesday in parts of Ventura and L.A. counties as the Santa Ana winds roar in. So far in 2020, there have been 7,606 wildfires in California and roughly 2.3 million acres burned, compared to just under 5,000 fires and 118,000 acres burned in 2019.

    Hollywood & Diversity: For years, activists have called on Hollywood to try to do better when it comes to diversity. Now, the Oscars say if studios don’t, they won’t be invited to their awards show. To be eligible for best picture at 2024 ceremony new diversity requirements for film staffers, both on and off screen, must be met.

    The 2020 Election: Retirees often staff local polling places, but with coronavirus putting their health at risk, who will step up?

    True Crime: Seven people were murdered at an illegal marijuana grow house in Aguanga, east of Temecula. Long Beach police have arrested 12 people suspected of carrying out a deadly mass shooting at a Halloween-themed birthday party last year that they mistakenly took for a gathering by a rival gang.

    Here’s What To Do: Check out live folklórico music and dance, take a walk bathed in L.A.'s neon lights, explore how racism impacts public health, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.


    Photo Of The Day

    A home is engulfed in flames during the Creek Fire in the Tollhouse area of Fresno County.

    (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

    Help Us Cover Your Community

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    The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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