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Bobcat Fire: Arcadia Warns Of Possible Evacuations As Blaze Surpasses 10,000 Acres

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Image captured Monday night from the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) cameras operated by UC San Diego at Mount Wilson. Courtesy UCSD
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This post is no longer being updated. Get our latest news reporting on the Bobcat Fire>>

Jump to: Basics | About Mt. Wilson | Air Quality | Additional Resources

Portions of Arcadia were added to the list of evacuation warnings Tuesday evening as firefighters continued to battle the Bobcat Fire, which broke out Sunday in the foothills above the city of Azusa and quickly spread into the Angeles National Forest. Here's what we know so far today:

THE BASICS

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  • Acreage: 10,344 acres
  • Containment: 0%
  • Resources Deployed: 347 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.
Officials say the blaze is burning "in extremely steep terrain in the west fork of the San Gabriel drainage," with active flames spreading north into the San Gabriel Mountains and south towards Mt. Bliss.

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

On Sunday, cameras placed near the observatory captured the steady approach of flames.

The priority is to contain the south end of the fire in anticipation of a "moderate Santa Ana wind event," U.S. Forest Service officials said. Brush and vegetation in the Santa Anita and Monrovia canyon areas hasn't burned since the 1950s.

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A Red Flag Warning is in effect for Tuesday through Wednesday through much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and gusts could reach 55 to 60 mph, bringing widespread critical fire weather conditions.

The Angeles National Forest is closed to the public through Monday, Sept. 14, officials said. San Gabriel Canyon Road is closed, as is State Route 2 from 10.6 miles east of La Cañada-Flintridge to Islip Saddle.

EVACUATION WARNING

The city of Arcadia issued an evacuation warning for all residents north of Foothill Boulevard and east of Santa Anita Avenue. Residents were advised to make preparations now for a possible order to evacuate.

The city advised anyone with large animals like horses and cattle not to wait and to begin moving the animals out of the area. The city said accommodations for the animals were being prepared at Pomona Fairgrounds and Santa Anita Race Track.

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Monrovia also issued an evacuation warning, saying residents in the foothill communities south of the fire should be prepared to evacuate should the fire move south.

"All of the foothill communities have done evacuation planning the last several days," said Angeles National Forest spokesperson Andrew Mitchell. "We are trying to work as much as we can and send all resources to that southern part to protect those communities should this thing grow."

Officials said evacuations would be conducted in two phases.

"Please continue to remain alert as Santa Ana winds are expected throughout the day," officials wrote on a fire incident page.

ABOUT MT. WILSON

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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.

AIR QUALITY:

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued a smoke advisory through this evening due to both the Bobcat and El Dorado fires.

Across Southern California, the air quality level is projected to be moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups. Many communities in the San Gabriel Valley have been dusted with a layer of ash. Bottom line: If you can see it or smell it, then you should take precautions. Stay indoors and check the current air quality before attempting outdoor activities.

You can look it up at airnow.gov.

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

Jacob Margolis and Emily Guerin, both veterans of past fire coverage, are reporting on this fire. Ryan Fonseca is helming the LAist story. Brian Frank, Jackie Fortiér and Sharon McNary reported on this fire on Monday.

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

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