Bobcat Fire Burns Into Its 7th Day; Some Evacuations Remain In Place
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The Bobcat Fire has been burning in the Angeles National Forest now for more a week. Crews are hoping 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.
Overnight, fire officials said low humidity kept the fire active, with most growth on the north and south fronts.
Officials are particularly concerned about the community of Monrovia, where the city is asking residents to help firefighting efforts by conserving water. At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, the fire reached the Trask Boy Scout camp and Canyon Park.
Half an hour later, the fire also spread into Big Santa Anita canyon near Chantry Flat.
Fire officials today said they're trying to hold the fire north of Highway 39 and strengthen the containment lines they've created to keep the fire out of foothill communities to the south.
#BobcatFire crews continue strategic firing operations in the northeast section of the fire near Hwy 39 and Angeles Crest Hwy 2. Air operations remain in the north & south ends, monitoring growth and making water drops to protect the foothill communities. #LACoFD pic.twitter.com/r6ucQAr6s5— Angeles National Forest (@Angeles_NF) September 12, 2020
The good news? The western and some of the eastern front of the fire are heading toward areas that have previously burned in this year's Ranch 2 Fire, 2016's Fish Fire and the 2009 Station Fire. That means there's less fuel.
The bad news? The north and other parts of the east fronts are heading toward areas that haven't burned in 80 years.
Here's what we know so far today:
- Acreage: 29,245 acres
- Containment: 6%
- Resources Deployed: 765 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.
- 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
- Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road
- Mt. Wilson Road
Evacuation warnings currently include residents living in the following foothill cities and communities:
- Monrovia (for residents north of Foothill Boulevard)
- Sierra Madre (residents can call 626-355-1414 to learn more about impacted areas)
"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."
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.
Expect higher than normal temperatures through the weekend, but nothing like we experienced last Sunday.
Smoke advisories are now in place through at least Sunday. Smoke blanketed much of the L.A. basin this week, bringing unhealthy air quality with it.
Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.
And what's up with that orange glow we've been 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."
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
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.
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
- Every Day Is Fire Season. Here's How Angelenos Can Prepare Right Now
- How To Find Out About Fire Evacuations In Your Area
- How To Keep Yourself Safe From Wildfire Smoke
- The Air Is Brown — Should I Wear A Mask?
- This Is Why Fire Officials Don't Want You To Stay And Defend Your Home
- What Does 'Containment' Of A Fire Mean, Exactly?
- What Does A 'Red Flag Warning' Mean, Exactly?
- What To Do — And Not Do — When You Get Home After A Wildfire
- How To Avoid Getting Towed During LA's Red Flag Parking Restrictions
- If You Want To Help Fire Victims, Resist The Urge To Volunteer
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