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El Dorado Fire: Nearly 16,490 Acres Burned, Containment At 53%

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This story is no longer being updated. Follow our coverage of the El Dorado Fire for Tuesday, Sept. 15>>

The El Dorado Fire continues to burn in the San Bernardino Mountains near Yucaipa, forcing evacuations of thousands of homes. Tonight, officials said residents of Mountain Home needed to continue to stay away from homes while work continued on downed power lines.

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

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 16,490
  • Containment: 53%
  • Evacuations: 3,467 homes
  • Structures destroyed: four homes, six other structures
  • Structures damaged: two homes, four other structures
  • Structures threatened: 1,047
  • Personnel: 1,319 firefighters
  • Injuries: 10

The El Dorado Fire began on Saturday, September 5, 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.

Firefighters are continue to cut firelines, and are getting support from helicopters and planes to slow the blaze's progress.

Hand crews are building a contingency line between Highway 38 and the 2015 Lake Fire burn scar, while other crews do similar work along Mill Creek from Vivian Creek to the burn scar of last month’s Apple Fire.

Crews are also holding the line near Forest Falls and continue to patrol and mop up hot spots.

"Firefighters remain in position to provide structure protection with direct hose lines while increasing defensible space," officials wrote in an update on the incident page.

Just before 1 p.m. today, officiala said the fire is actively burning south of Highway 38 in the areas of Barton Flats and Angelus Oaks. Residents are advised to monitor emergency officials' Twitter accounts for potential updates to evacuation orders.

Highway 38 remains closed between Bryant Street and Lake Williams Drive.

San Bernardino National Forest — along with all other national forests in California — remains closed.

EVACUATIONS

Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for the following communities (detailed map here):

  • Mountain Home Village
  • Forest Falls
  • Angelus Oaks
  • Seven Oaks
  • Barton Flats / Jenks Lake Area east to Onyx Summit

On Monday morning, San Bernardino National Forest officials had a message for residents in the Angelus Oaks area who were still at their homes: get out now.

A Red Cross evacuation center is open at the Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave.

All evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted for residents in Yucaipa, Oak Glen and Mentone. Officials are asking residents to use caution as they return to their homes due to the emergency crews still working in the area.

WEATHER CONDITIONS AND AIR QUALITY

A smoke plume from the El Dorado Fire rises above the San Bernardino National Forest on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (Courtesy Southern California Edison)

"Low humidities and less smoke will result in more active fire behavior today," fire officials said.

Warm and dry conditions are expected in the burn area today, a trend that will continue over the next few days, according to officials.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has extended a smoke advisory to Tuesday as unhealthy air continues to blanket much of the L.A. Basin and Inland Empire. It's not just local fires though; smoke is also making its way to us from wildfires in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

Smoke is expected to linger in the basin and valley areas overnight, but officials say it will continue to clear up through tomorrow afternoon, thanks to south-blowing winds.

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

CAUSE

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.

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: Blaze Grows To Over 38K Acres; Serious Threat To Mt. Wilson

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

The Bobcat Fire continues to grow in the Angeles National Forest, causing evacuations and threatening foothill communities.

View from Mt. Wilson tonight from cameras operated. (Courtesy HPWREN via UC San Diego )

It's also getting perilously close to Mt. Wilson observatory, where firefighters have begun actively defending the building. "

Fire officials warned in the evening briefing that resources to fight the fire were limited, which contributed to the fire's growth "outpacing containment."

Authorities cautioned that low humidity and warm temperatures overnight will allow the fire to "burn actively through the night."

Earlier in the afternoon, Angeles National Forest tweeted that the fire was burning on the ridge line above the east side of Little Santa Anita Canyon, and that "air operations were actively making drops".

To the east, Monrovia city officials warned that the fire was moving into Spanish Canyon, and that extra aircraft were being brought in help.

"In addition to the aircraft, residents of Monrovia, Duarte and Bradbury will see an increase in smoke, flames and firefighting activities during this time."

They added that the fire will get closer to the foothill communities as the evening progresses.

"Please know, the fire is beginning at a point high up the mountain but will be backing downward slowly and in a controlled manner."

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

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 38,299 acres
  • Containment: 3%
  • Resources deployed: 1,091 firefighters

The blaze erupted last Sunday 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 continue to work in steep difficult terrain with help from helicopters and planes. Crews are hoping to take advantage of low winds forecasted for the next few days to build some containment lines around the flames.

The focus today has been protecting foothill communities and Mt. Wilson, U.S. Forest Service officials tweeted this morning. Officials report the the fire has crossed to the west side of Santa Anita Canyon and continues to grow and move toward Mt. Wilson and Mt. Harvard.

Residents of dozens of homes in the Sierra Madre / Arcadia area were ordered to evacuate Sunday, but firefighters have been able to keep the fire away from houses so far, officials say.

Angeles National Forest officials are hosting a virtual meeting on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. this evening to provide updates on the fire. You can join the meeting here.

CLOSURES

  • 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 to State Route 2
  • State Route 2 is closed from Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road to Big Pines
  • Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road
  • Mt. Wilson Road
  • Glendora Mountain Road
  • Glendora Ridge Road

EVACUATIONS

Mel Cohen removes family photos from his home on Highland Vista during evacuations as the Bobcat Fire approaches the foothill community of Arcadia. (Brian Feinzimer/LAist)

Mandatory

On Sunday morning, the city of Arcadia issued an evacuation order for all residents who live north of Elkins Avenue and east of Santa Anita Avenue. That area includes some homes in the adjacent city of Sierra Madre. That order will remain in place Monday night, Arcadia city officials announced in the afternoon.

An evacuation order is also in effect for Camp Williams, located just east of the burn zone in the Angeles National Forest.

Warnings

Evacuation warnings remain in effect for the following foothill cities and communities:

  • Monrovia
  • Arcadia (excluding the neighborhood under mandatory evacuation orders)
  • Sierra Madre (except the 32 homes under mandatory evacuation orders)
  • Bradbury
  • Duarte
  • 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."

People watch as the Bobcat Fire burns on hillsides behind homes in Arcadia, on Sept. 13, 2020. The blaze prompted mandatory evacuations for residents of several communities. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

SHELTER SITES

A Red Cross Evacuation Center was re-established at Santa Anita Park, 285 W. Huntington Drive (entry at Gate 5).

L.A. County officials said a shelter site for horses has been established at the Pomona Fairplex (entry at Gate 12).

AIR QUALITY

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has extended a smoke advisory to Tuesday as unhealthy air continues to blanket much of the L.A. Basin and Inland Empire. It's not just local fires though; smoke is also making its way to us from wildfires in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

Smoke is expected to linger in the basin and valley areas overnight, but officials say it will continue to clear up through tomorrow afternoon, thanks to south-blowing winds.

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

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.

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 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.

LA Sheriff Cites 'Promising Leads' In Hunt For Man Who Shot Two Deputies

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Sheriff Villanueva addressed the news media hours after the ambush. (Josie Huang/LAist)

Detectives have "promising leads" in the hunt for a man who ambushed two Sheriff's deputies in their parked patrol car Saturday night, Sheriff Alex Villanueva told NBC4 today.

Meanwhile, a video has surfaced that shows the 31-year-old female tending to the 24-year-old male deputy after they were shot at the Compton Metro station. NBC4 said it's Metro security video.

"He’s bleeding out profusely from the arm, so she actually applies the tourniquet to his arm to stop the bleeding," Villanueva told KTLA 5 today. "She tries to call for help on the radio and she’s trying to mumble and finally she says where she’s at."

The deputies are recovering at St. Francis Medical Center, in critical but stable condition, according to the Sheriff's department.

Villanueva told NBC4 the suspect fled in a black Mercedes sedan.

Meanwhile, the reward for information leading to the suspect is growing. The county is offering $100,000, and Villanueva said today that two private individuals have come forward to offer another $75,000. He then challenged Lakers star LeBron James to match that amount.

Noting James' support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the sheriff said in an interview on KABC radio that "respect for life goes across professions, across races, creeds, and I'd like to see LeBron James step up to the plate."

Metro has offered its own $25,000 reward.

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.

$5 Million In Grants Available For L.A. County Child Care Providers

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Published
A home child care in South Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Child care providers have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, and those that have managed to stay open are often losing money because of increased operating costs and lower enrollment.

Starting today, some Los Angeles County child care providers can apply to a $5 million grant fund. The money comes from the federal CARES Act and will be doled out in $10,000 increments to individual providers and $40,000 each for child care centers.

The county’s Development Authority estimates it will approve 225 grants. To put that into perspective, there are 7,302 licensed child care providers currently open in L.A. County.

Eboni Allen is one of them. At the end of this month, she’ll have been a home-based provider for 13 years.

Her business, Wonderfully Made Academy, which focuses on caring for children with special needs and from foster care, has remained open during the pandemic, though some days she only has one child show up.

Before the pandemic, she was usually fully enrolled with 11 to 13 kids.

“I’m a Christian so I am strictly walking by faith,” Allen said. “This year has all been God. Every month has been a blessing that I’m able to pay my rent.”

She plans to apply to the county program. If she receives a grant, the money would go toward paying her $4,000-a-month rent and buying supplies, such as cleaning products and batteries to power the thermometer she uses for daily health screenings.

These grants are only available to providers outside the city of L.A. The application is available here. Providers who receive money through the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund will only be eligible for payments from one program.

MORE LAIST CHILD CARE COVERAGE:

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LA Latinos More Likely To Suffer Financially During Pandemic

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Migrant farm laborers from Fresh Harvest shop in King City. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

Working-age Latinos — that’s anyone between 18 and 69 years old — are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than other races. And even though they’re keeping the city running, they’re also experiencing widespread financial harm during the pandemic.

A new NPR poll found that seven out of 10 Latino households are struggling financially. That’s more than any other race in L.A.

“It was at the beginning, so nobody knew anything and it didn't get better,” one Latina worker who participated in the poll recently told me. “I just couldn't afford to continue to go to the doctor.”

READ THE FULL STORY:

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.

Two Schools, Two Lessons On Grading Students During The COVID-19 Crisis

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Manuel Rustin, a teacher at John Muir High School in Pasadena. (Milken Family Foundation)

Back in March, two days after the coronavirus pandemic forced Pasadena’s John Muir High School to close its doors, history teacher Manuel Rustin sent his juniors an assignment: a simple, three-page essay.

“If you would’ve told me at that time, when I sent that out,” Rustin recalled over Zoom, “that I would arrive at a place where I’d give all my students A’s, I would be like, ‘Impossible!’”

Not just A’s on that assignment; A’s for the entire semester — and for Rustin, this essay was the turning point.

No districts across L.A. County went quite as far as Rustin last spring — but many did relax their grading policies.

But as they did so, Yvette King-Berg decided the charter schools she oversaw would hold firm.

“I was like, ‘No,’” recalled King-Berg, who runs the YPI Charter Schools network. “You have had 10 weeks of instruction. You need to continue to work for your grades. We’re going to continue to check for mastery.”

How did two schools come to such different conclusions about grading during the pandemic?

FOR THE ANSWER, READ OUR STORY:

GO DEEPER:

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LAUSD Will Begin Ramping Up COVID-19 Testing Program For Staff, Students

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Published
A child receives a nasal swab COVID-19 test in Compton. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

After nearly one month of trials and practice runs, Los Angeles public school officials have announced they’re ready to start testing all of the district’s students and staff members every so often for COVID-19.

L.A. Unified School District officials said the first invitations for coronavirus screenings went out last week: some 5,000 district staff working on campuses and their children, who are receiving special on-site child care, took tests on Thursday and Friday. Testing for this group of employees will continue this week.

“We’re just getting started,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in an interview on Sunday.

By the end of this week, Beutner expects all LAUSD staff to receive invitations for COVID-19 tests at one of 42 sites district-wide. Within a few more weeks, he expects the program to expand to all students, starting at the elementary level.

READ OUR FULL STORY:

GO DEEPER:

Morning Briefing: LAist Reporter Arrested For Doing Her Job

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The scene near the Willowbrook Metro station tonight. (Josie Huang/LAist)

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

On Saturday night, after covering a press conference held by L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, KPCC/LAist reporter Josie Huang was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies.

Josie was attempting to film the arrest of a protester outside a hospital in Lynwood where two deputies were being treated after being shot in Compton. In a video taken by our friends at ABC7, Josie can be seen with five male deputies pinning her to the ground. In another video, taken with her own phone, which continued filming even after it was dropped, she can be heard screaming in pain and repeatedly stating that she is a reporter with KPCC as the deputies handcuff her and hold down her legs.

Josie was in police custody for five hours and faces an obstruction of justice charge, as LASD alleges she interfered with an arrest. After her arrest, LASD tweeted a lie, stating that she “did not identify herself as press.” As of this writing, that tweet is still up on the LASD account.

Our organization has requested that the charges against Josie be dropped. We’ll provide ongoing updates on her situation, our newsroom’s response, and LASD’s response. And we will, of course, also report on the shooting itself and what we hope will be a full recovery for the deputies.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, September 14

Latino/as account for more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other ethnicity in California, and the virus is also affecting their financial health. Jackie Fortiér reports on a new poll from NPR and Harvard, which found that 70% of Latino/as in L.A. report serious financial problems due to the pandemic.

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with "El Grito" online, learn about the architecture of the LBC, enjoy a pre-Code film about a ne'er-do-well plastic surgeon, and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best online and IRL events.

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


The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A. Sheriff’s Department: Two deputies were in critical condition Sunday night after being shot multiple times while sitting in a patrol car in Compton. While covering the shooting of those deputies, KPCC/LAist reporter Josie Huang was arrested by L.A. County Sheriff's deputies Saturday night. She explains what happened in her own words.

More LASD News: Protesters expressed anger at the fact that the deputies who killed Dijon Kizzee are not being named, and that LASD decided to place a security hold on Kizzee's autopsy.

Wildfires: The El Dorado Fire has burned more than 14,200 acres in the San Bernardino Forest, and is at 41% containment. The Bobcat Fire has burned more than 33,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest, and is at 6% containment.

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County reported 816 new cases of the coronavirus and 11 new deaths attributed to the disease, while Orange County reported 170 new cases and no new deaths.


Photo Of The Day

Mel Cohen removes family photos from his home on Highland Vista during evacuations as the Bobcat fire approaches the foothill community of Arcadia.

(Brian Feinzimer/LAist)

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