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Bobcat Fire: Blaze Grows To Over 26K Acres, Containment At 6%

This post is no longer being updated. Get the latest news: Bobcat Fire Burns Into Its 7th Day

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

The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest burned into its sixth day Friday.

Crews hope to take advantage of low winds forecasted for the next few days to draw some containment around the flames, and protect nearby foothill communities under evacuation warnings.

Here's what we know so far today:


  • Acreage: 26,368 acres
  • Containment: 6%
  • Resources Deployed: 540 personnel

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.

(Courtesy city of Monrovia)

Fire behavior remains very active today, and the blaze is burning in chaparral-dense areas that haven't burned in more than 60 years, according to officials.

L.A. County and U.S. Forest Service firefighting helicopters flew overnight to keep the southern edge of the blaze "in-check," Angeles National Forest officials said this morning.

Firefighters' plan today is to keep the fire north of homes in foothill communities, east of Mt. Wilson Observatory, south of Angeles Crest Highway and west of the Sheep Mountain Wilderness area.

Just after 1:30 p.m. Friday, Monrovia city officials said the fire is now burning within city limits, based on reporting from fire officials, but had not yet reached Monrovia Canyon Park.


  • The Angeles National Forest — along with every other national forest in the state — has been closed
  • State Route 39 is closed at Old Gabriel Canyon Road
  • State Route 2 east of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road to Islip Saddle is also closed


Evacuation warnings currently include residents living in the following foothill cities and communities:

  • Duarte
  • Bradbury
  • Monrovia (for residents north of Foothill Boulevard)
  • Sierra Madre (residents can call 626-355-1414 to learn more about 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."

Images posted on social media Thursday night showed a zig-zagging line of flames burning in the mountains above Monrovia. City officials there assured residents that precautions had been taken to protect homes in the foothills.

"This fire is surrounded by defensible space, including dozer lines, and areas recently burned from fires such as the Station Fire, Madison Fire & Dam Fire," city officials wrote on Twitter. "The Bobcat Fire will likely burn for some time until it is fully contained."


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

An evacuation site at Santa Anita Park was closed Thursday, according to the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Smoke from the Bobcat Fire looms over Monrovia on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)


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

Smoke advisories have been extended through Saturday as unhealthy air quality blankets much of the L.A. basin.

Look up the latest air quality info for your area at

And what's up with that orange glow we're seeing in SoCal skies? According to Phillip Fine, deputy executive officer for planning and rules with South Coast Air Quality Management District, that's largely due to the massive wildfires burning in Northern California and Oregon. Those blazes have created a smoke plume that's almost 1,000 miles wide, Fine said, but local air quality hasn't been as affected, he explained.

"A lot of that smoke is not making it down to ground level, thankfully, but that's why all over Southern California, we're seeing this eerie, orange glow... If you look at the air quality that they're experiencing up in Northern California and Oregon, it is much worse [than what] we're getting in Southern California and much more widespread, so we're somewhat fortunate we're not seeing those level of impact."

Our orange-tinged skies pale in comparison to the absolutely apocalyptic color pallete people in the Bay Area have experienced this week.

The poor air quality is also affecting COVID-19 testing in L.A. County. Officials announced today that several testing sites will be closed through the weekend due to the unhealthy air. The list includes:

  • College of the Canyons
  • East LA College
  • Pomona Fairplex Gate 17
  • San Gabriel Valley Airport
  • Montebello Civic Center
  • Panorama City


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.

The Bobcat Fire continued to burn in Angeles National Forest on Sept. 10, 2020. (Courtesy of Caltrans)


Ryan Fonseca is gathering updated information about this fire, with additional feeds from reporters and producers.

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.


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



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El Dorado Fire: More Than 13K Acres Burned, More Evacuations Lifted

This post is no longer being updated. Get the latest news for Saturday: El Dorado Fire: More Than 14K Acres Now Burned

Fire officials say crews are making good progress on the El Dorado Fire, which has been burning in the San Bernardino National Forest near Yucaipa.

Winds were expected to whip up again overnight and into the early morning hours, raising fears the fire could grow once again. Fortunately, it was still holding steady as of about 4 p.m. Friday.

More evacuation orders were lifted in some parts of Yucaipa, but all areas between Angelus Oaks and Onyx Summit are still off limits as firefighters work to build containment lines just south of those communities. Authorities in Big Bear are also asking visitors to stay out for the time being, in case more evacuation orders are necessary.

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


  • Acreage: 13,920 acres
  • Containment: 37%
  • Structures destroyed: four homes, six other structures
  • Structures damaged: two homes, four other structures
  • Structures threatened: 11,000
  • Resources deployed: 1,244 firefighters, including 17 hand crews, 12 dozers, 13 water tenders, six helicopters, and four fixed-wing aircraft

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 tens of thousands of residents.

Smoke advisories have been extended through Saturday as unhealthy air quality blankets much of the Southland.

A pair of firefighters from Orange County Fire Authority Station 18 take a break during the El Dorado Fire. (Sharon McNary/LAist)

The work in much of the fire perimeter isn’t battling back walls of flame; it’s patrolling, looking for flareups and keeping the fire behind the control lines that they’ve set.

For example, they’ve kept the fire control lines intact behind Mountain Home Village, and along the west slope above Forest Falls, a community of about 700 homes and 1,100 people. If you’re familiar with Forest Falls, the fire has burned into the western portion of Oak Lane. The east end of Oak Lane has a large and modern Christian camp and conference center in there called Forest Home. As of now, it’s unclear if any structures along Oak Lane have been damaged.

You have to kind of hack your way through fire-speak to understand what they are saying about the fight to save these areas. They say: “The continued efforts of fire crews building and reinforcing controls lines as well as structure preparation have allowed for active engagement on the fire by ground resources.”

What they mean is that they got out there early, built their fire breaks using shovels and bulldozers and fire retardant drops, and stayed on top of them so they wouldn’t burn through. They also got behind homes and buildings to clear away plants, trees and patio furniture and other things that might carry fire into them.

And that “active engagement on the fire by ground resources” means firefighters were right there on the front lines pushing the fire back at great risk to themselves and great expense to state and federal taxpayers, because that’s who’s paying for most of these big firefights.

Did it work? As of this this morning's update, four homes had burned, two were damaged and a number of sheds and other buildings had also been destroyed. That count may be updated later today.

These close-together homes in Forest Falls were evacuated during the El Dorado Fire, Sept. 10, 2020 (Sharon McNary/LAist)


Riverside County

All evacuation warnings and orders were lifted Thursday afternoon, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

San Bernardino County

Evacuation orders were lifted Friday afternoon for "all areas east of Jefferson and south of Carter." The Oak Glen area is being reopened for residents, business owners and workers, according to officials.

An interactive map of current evacation zones is available here.

Mandatory (as of 3 p.m. Friday)

  • All Yucaipa residents located east of Bryant, north of Carter, and west of Jefferson
  • All residents located east of Bryant street on Highway 38 including Mountain Home, Forest Falls, Angelus Oak, 7 Oaks and Jenks Lake Area East to Onyx Summit.

Warning (voluntary, but be prepared to leave)

  • North of Carter Street, west of Bryant Street, south of Highway 38, east of Garnet Street. Officials advised those who may need extra time to mobilize, along with those with pets and livestock, to evacuate now.


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

ROAD CLOSURES (as of 10 a.m. Friday)

  • Highway 38 is closed between Bryant St. to the south and Lake Williams Dr. to the north
  • Topaz St. is closed at Bryant St. to eastbound traffic
  • Juniper Ave. is closed at Bryant St.
  • Carter St. is closed at Bryant St.
  • Ivy is closed at Bryant St.
  • Northbound Fremont St. is closed at Oak Glen Rd.
  • Eastbound Oak Glen Road is closed at northbound Cherry Croft
  • Eastbound Oak Glen Road is Closed at Casablanca
  • Oak Glen Rd. is closed at Wildwood Cyn.
  • Pendleton Rd. is Closed at Oak Glen Rd.
  • Fremont St is closed at Carter St.


The family behind the party where authorities say a pyrotechnic device was set off 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 yet.


Ryan Fonseca gathered updated information about this fire, with additional feeds from reporter Sharon McNary and newsroom staff.

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.


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



LA Mayor Warns Of Possible Layoffs As City's Projected Budget Shortfall Grows

The Los Angeles City Hall photographed in August when it was lighted to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

The City of L.A. is bracing for potential layoffs as COVID-19 continues to devastate the economy.

In a memo released today, Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered all Los Angeles City department managers to identify “non-critical” positions and services to eliminate.

The grim fiscal writing has been on the wall for months. Almost as soon as the mayor proposed his new budget in April, analysts were warning it was too optimistic about local tax revenues during the pandemic.

The city has tried offering employee buyouts and last week declared a fiscal emergency to clear the way for worker furloughs that amount to a 10% pay cut for civilian employees. But it’s not enough to bridge the gap.

In his latest update, City Administrative Officer Rich Llewellyn projects the budget shortfall could be between $200-400 million dollars, assuming the economy mostly returns to normal by early 2021.

"It is abundantly clear that the City must implement additional and arguably more severe austerity measures,” Llewellyn said.


Garcetti writes in the memo:

“We must take action now to put ourselves in a better position to withstand the financial crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic in our City.”

Along with laying the groundwork for layoffs, he also ordered department managers to find more places to cut costs and asked labor negotiators to work with public employee unions to delay or reduce planned pay raises.

Garcetti added that employee buyouts are going forward and a hiring freeze will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. Furloughs that were approved by the city council last week “may” be implemented, the mayor said.

The city agreed to raises for sworn LAPD officers, firefighters and civilian employees during the halcyon days of the strong economy in 2019. The total cost of a new bonus program and pay bump for police added about $123 million to the FY 2020-21 spending plan, for example.

A proposal from council members Mike Bonin and Marqueece Harris-Dawson to ask the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) to delay raises until the fiscal situation improves failed in the City Council last week.

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Read The Column: Why Filling Out That Census Form Is So Important For Angelenos — And Outreach Is Critical

Community volunteers raise awareness for the 2020 Census in Boyle Heights in August, shortly before federal census workers began knocking on doors. (Photo illustration by Chava Sanchez, LAist/Photo by Caroline Champlin, LAist)

This week LAist columnist Erick Galindo headed to Plaza Mexico in Lynwood to chat people up about the 2020 Census. He asked if they'd filled out their census forms, and if anyone had shown up at the door to help them. He writes:

A Latina in a green dress who refused to give me her name said someone came to her house weeks ago to help her fill it out. Maria Delgado from Compton told me something similar. An older Black couple from South Central, Mimi and Joe, said an enumerator helped them, too. An older gentleman from Carson said his wife filled it out online...

Then there was Joaquin from Watts, who said he had not filled out the census, and wasn't sure if his wife had done it for them. A young man named Marcos said maybe one of his roommates filled it out. He wasn't sure. Marian, a young Black woman, told me she didn't fill it out, and wasn't sure if any census takers had knocked on her door.

While many people he ran into had completed the census, it also became apparent that "many of them would not have without the urging of a census taker who went to their home." Like one man, Carlos, who hadn't planned to fill his form out until an enumerator came to the door and helped him.

If it wasn't for that enumerator, I explained to him, California could have lost about $1,000 in federal funds a year for the next 10 years due simply to Carlos not being counted. That's how much money the state stands to lose for each uncounted person. Money that goes to important public services, like Medi-Cal and public schools. California could also lose more representation in Congress than it already stands to.



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After 19 Years In Prison, Compton Man Released Amid Push To Exonerate Him

Emon Barnes with his mother, Lorna Duvea, after his release. (Robert Garrova/LAist)

Emon Barnes was released from custody today after serving 19 years in prison for a shooting he says he didn’t commit. But he wasn’t cleared of the crime; instead, the 34-year-old was set free in part because of his medical condition.

Barnes was greeted by cheers and clapping from his mother, Lorna Duvea, along with other relatives and staff from Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent. The project has been seeking Barnes’ exoneration for six years.

"It’s been a long time coming," Duvea said, fighting back tears outside downtown L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail, where Barnes was released.

Barnes has sickle cell disease, which his attorneys said heightened his health risk should he contract the coronavirus. That prompted the L.A. District Attorney’s office to work with the Project for the Innocent to request resentencing.

In addition to Barnes' high COVID-19 risk, they based their request on changes in the juvenile sentencing law and his good conduct in prison, according to the Project for the Innocent. While a judge was considering the case, Barnes contracted the coronavirus in San Quentin prison. The judge ultimately ordered Barnes released.

Barnes was arrested in 2001 for attempted murder when he was 15 and tried in adult court. He maintained he was at home with his mother at the time of the shooting, but he was convicted and sentenced to 40 years.

Barnes' lawyers said in a statement that he was "convicted of gang crimes based largely on statements by a teenage witness who has now recanted his testimony."

Under a new California law, Barnes would not have been tried as an adult for crimes he allegedly committed as a teenager. That law is also retroactive, and Deputy DA Bobby Grace, who filed the petition to have Barnes resentenced, told the Los Angeles Times he also took that into consideration.

The Project for the Innocent said in a statement that it “intends to pursue Barnes’s claim of innocence so he can clear his name.”

As of early this afternoon, more than 7,000 people had signed an online petition asking Governor Gavin Newsom to grant clemency and commute Barnes’s sentence.

Barnes, who said his family and lawyers were always by his side, said it was scary dealing with COVID-19 on top of his sickle cell disease.

“I just kept fighting through it,” he said. “I kept praying. As I kept praying, Loyola kept fighting for me.”

Barnes said he plans to spend time helping youth and the Project for the Innocent.

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CSU Employees Worry That Patchwork COVID-19 Policies Are Putting Their Health At Risk

Dominguez Hills is one of 23 campuses in the California State University system.

Employees at California State University campuses in the Los Angeles area say they're concerned that COVID-19 prevention protocols aren't enough to curb the spread of the virus, following outbreaks at Chico State and San Diego State.

"A lot of our members are very concerned about exposure to COVID-19 while they're working on campus," said Cal State Los Angeles employee Kim Neal, the school's chapter chair of the California State University Employees Union. The union represents 16,000 clerical workers, custodians, IT workers and other employees in the CSU system.

"Right now, there's no measuring of temperatures, there's no self-checks," said Neal, an instructional support technician in CSLA's Department of Television and Film. "There's no arrival checks, there's nothing of that in place that we're aware of."

When the pandemic began, the Cal State Chancellor's office gave each of its 23 campuses autonomy to develop their own plans to fight the virus.

The Cal State Chancellor's Office said that decision was made to address varying needs across the university system's 23 campuses.


LA County Educators Want To Build A Better Bridge Between Pre-K And Kindergarten 

A child in Young Horizons's toddler class enjoys breakfast time. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

In June 2019, the Los Angeles County Office of Education gathered parents, teachers and administrators to talk about how to help kids transition from early learning programs to kindergarten.

Now, a little more than a year and many meetings later, there’s a 50-page plan to make it happen.

“We need to ensure that there is a very personalized, warm hand off from one system to the next and consistency throughout the county,” said L.A. County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo at a virtual event Friday. “We can’t wait until high school or middle school to get them on the right path.”

The group knew that high-quality early childhood education benefits kids academically, mentally and physically, but researchers have also found those early wins can fade over time.There are more than 2,000 different public schools in L.A. County’s public education system.

"One reason for the 'fade-out effect' is likely to be the lack of continuity and support as children transition from preschool to elementary school," reads the Los Angeles County Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition Systems Alignment Framework.

Here are some of the plan’s highlights.

  • More than half of L.A. County teachers and administrators surveyed say preschool and elementary school programs often do not align. For example, just 35% said preschool and kindergarten teachers collaborate to help students transition.
  • Parents say sharing information, building relationships with their teachers and individualized support for their child was important to successfully transition to kindergarten.
  • The framework suggests several policy changes, including reducing class sizes and more classroom support, increasing the number of preschool teachers with bachelor’s degrees, creating a data system to share academic information between early learning and elementary school programs, and making it easier for parents to volunteer in the classroom.
  • Preschool field trips to kindergarten classrooms, providing information to parents before the start of the new school year and teacher visits to students' homes are all ways schools can better engage with parents, and in doing so, help kids succeed.

Read the full report:

UPDATE, 4:35 P.M.: This article was updated to include comments from L.A. County schools superintendent Debra Duardo.


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How A Son Of Egyptian Immigrants Battled Racism To Become An Olympian -- And A Doctor

(Courtesy Omar Amr)

Growing up as the son of Egyptian immigrants, Omar Amr was technically African American, but never really considered himself part of the Black community. His dad knew better. Amr writes about his first driving lesson:

"Just put your hands on the dashboard and calmly do whatever they ask you to do."

That was what my father taught me first when I was learning to drive, before he had even taught me to actually drive. At the time, I thought that was what everyone was taught -- that it was normal.

At first, Amr thought that must be how everyone learns to drive. But "like the rules my father tried to instill in me during that driving lesson, I quickly learned that with Black skin comes a different kind of experience with society."

This reality followed Amr as he set his sights on Olympic water polo, on Harvard, on becoming a doctor -- forcing him to push through roadblocks if he was going to fulfill his dreams.



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Morning Briefing: Abysmal Air Quality Sets In

The Bobcat Fire continued to burn in Angeles National Forest on Sept. 10, 2020. Courtesy of Caltrans

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

I’m sure I wasn’t alone in spending yesterday awash with confusion and dread as the skies turned orange and rained ash upon already shuttered businesses and a few brave, mask-clad souls.

The abysmal air quality (and chillingly apocalyptic tableau) was obviously on its way for days, but if you (like me) felt like it got suddenly worse, that’s because it did. KPCC’s Jacob Margolis notes that the abrupt change was partly the result of shifting Santa Ana winds, which left smoke in their wake instead of blowing it away. Burning matter from the massive fires in Northern California is also making its way south.

"With some of these mega wildfire complexes, you actually start seeing them affecting air quality literally thousands of miles away,” said Michael Jerrett, Professor of Environmental Health Science at UCLA.

The air may shift again with the winds, but it’s unlikely that it will clear up until the fires are well on their way to being contained.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, September 11

Emon Barnes, a client of the Loyola Project for the Innocent, is scheduled to be released from jail. Robert Garrova has the story.

The California chapter of the NAACP is opposing Proposition 15, saying it would hurt businesses owned by people of color. David Wagner reports.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Wildfires: The out-of-control Bobcat Fire more than doubled in size overnight, reaching 23,890 acres with no containment. The El Dorado Fire has burned 12,610 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest, and is at 23% containment. Air quality in L.A. plummeted today -- here’s why. Our own Emily Guerin, an avid hiker and backpacker, spoke with experts to get the best advice for surviving a blaze in the great outdoors.

Bad Business: County health officials are cracking down on businesses that aren’t complying with coronavirus safety protocols. Film industry executives continue to practice egregious, discriminatory hiring practices, despite 13 years of damning research from USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The state is sending out the latest $300 unemployment benefit checks, but some 200,000 Californians don't qualify because they weren't making enough money (yep).

Distance Learning: The California State University system will continue with predominantly online instruction for the academic term beginning in January. The Long Beach Unified School District will remain in distance learning mode through the end of the semester

Election News: State Senator Holly Mitchell and L.A. City Councilman Herb Wesson debated virtually this week for the first time in the general election campaign for an open seat on the powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Here’s What To Do: Watch new and notable films from Mexico, visit the NHM's Butterfly Pavilion, explore California's biodiversity, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.

Photo Of The Day

The Bobcat Fire continued to burn in Angeles National Forest.

(Courtesy of Caltrans)

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