Bobcat Fire: Urgent Evacuations Orders As Fire Burns Through Nearly 94K Acres
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The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest continues to grow in its 14th day and authorities are ordering anyone in mandatory evacuation zones to leave immediately.
The Unified Incident Command Teams are ORDERING residents in the foothills North of the Bobcat Fire to evacuate. This is an EVACUATION ORDER:— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) September 19, 2020
• South of 138th St East, North of Big Pine Hwy and Hwy 2, West of 263rd East, East of Largo Vista
The fire has grown aggressively in recent days. By this morning, more than 93,000 acres had burned. The rapid spread was driven by wind gusts of up to 44 mph that pushed the flames into the Antelope Valley.
At the same time fire officials issued new evacuation orders, they said others would be lifted. At 4 p.m., residents living in areas currently under mandatory evacuation in Arcadia, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Duarte, and Bradbury were be allowed to return home.
The focus today has been on the northern side of the fire. In the morning update, officials said the fire "has spread north into foothills communities of Juniper Hills and Valyermo." They also warned that the fire was just miles from the communities of Big Pines and Wrightwood
WATCH THE MORNING BRIEFING
At a news conference last night, L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby noted that many fires this year, including the Bobcat, have been very dangerous:
"The fire behavior that we're getting in this fire and throughout the state of California is unprecedented. It's very important that when your local law enforcement comes through or your local firefighters come through, please make sure that you evacuate."
The National Weather Service continues to report "elevated fire weather conditions," adding wind gusts this afternoon into evening could reach 25 to 35 mph — and get above 40 mph in the foothills.
Here's what else we know about the fire so far today.
- Acreage: 93,842 acres
- Containment: 15%
- Resources deployed: 1,686 firefighters
The fire erupted on Sept. 6 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.
North of Angeles Crest North and between Clear Creek Station and Hwy 39.
Including the area East of Devils Punch Bowl Rd, South of the Big Pines Hwy, North of the Big Rock Creek, and West of Jackson Lake.
Aqueduct: South of Pearblossom Hwy (SR138), North of Big Pines, East of 165th and West of Largo Vista Rd.
Ward: North of Fort Tejon Rd, south of Avenue V, east of 87th E., west of 121 St East.
Longview: South of Avenue 12, north of Aqueduct, west of 165 St E and east of 121 St East.
Tejon: South of Fort Tejon Rd, north of Cooley Place, east of 89th St. East and west of Longview Rd.
Peach: North of Pallett Creek, south of W. 114th St., east of Longview Rd and west of 165th St.
Cima Block: 96th east to 116th St. E/Fort Tejon Rd south to SR 2
Juniper Block: 116th E to Devis Punchbowl Rd / Fort Tejor Rd to SR 2
Punchbowl Block: Devils Punchbowl Rd to and including Fenner Camp
Paradise Block: Fenner Camp to intersection of SR 2 and Big Pines
3 Points area
Angeles Crest Christian Camp
Crystal Lake area
- South of Pearblosson Hwy
- East and north of Angeles Forest Hwy
- North and west of Mt. Emma
- East and south of Hwy 122
- West of Cheseboro Rd.
"Residents in these areas should quickly gather their families and pets and head to your preplanned location outside of the fire evacuation zones," forest officials wrote on the fire incident page. "Residents must take these necessary steps to ensure your family’s safety. Delaying evacuation will prevent fire crews from suppression activities and compromise the safety of the public and first responders."
This public information map was published Saturday morning by the U.S. Forest Service:
The mountain town of Wrightwood has been issued an evacuation warning.
Warnings also remain in effect for communities along the southern foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains:
- Sierra Madre
- Residents north of Foothill Blvd. and east of Santa Anita Ave.
"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."
Earlier evacuation orders for some residents in Arcadia and the adjacent city of Sierra Madre were lifted Wednesday afternoon.
Evacuation orders have been lifted for residents in the East Fork area, which includes Camp Williams and the River Community Center. Residents returning to their homes were advised to use Glendora Mountain Road, as State Route 39 remains closed.
The Red Cross has established a temporary evaction point at Palmdale High School, 2137 East Avenue R. Accomodations for 300 large animals are available at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, 2551 W. Avenue H, Lancaster.
L.A. County officials said a shelter site for horses has been established at the Pomona Fairplex (entry at Gate 12).
- The Angeles National Forest remains closed through Sept. 21 — along with all other national forests in California
- 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
Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.
ABOUT MT. WILSON
The Mt. 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.
Crews have been prepping structures near Mount Wilson. Retardant is also being placed around it.
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.
For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:
- Angeles National Forest Facebook
- Angeles National Forest Twitter
- Bobcat Fire incident website
- L.A. County emergency website
- Arcadia PD
- Arcadia Fire
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