Enormous Bobcat Fire Threatens Desert Homes North of LA

The Bobcast Fire started more than two weeks ago north of Azusa, then burned deeper into the San Gabriel Mountains toward the Antelope Valley.

NBC Universal, Inc.

What to Know

  • The Bobcat Fire started more than two weeks ago in the mountains north of Azusa.
  • Over the past week, the fire threat moved from the south side of Angeles National Forest north to the Antelope Valley.
  • On Tuesday morning, the fire was estimated at 109,000 acres with containment at 18 percent,.

Twenty-nine buildings were confirmed to be destroyed or damaged in the 109,000-acre Bobcat Fire but the number could rise as the fire grows in Angeles National Forest.

On Friday, the fire burned from Angeles National Forest down into the communities of Cima Mesa, Juniper Hills, Pearblossom, and Devil's Punchbowl, the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Vince Pena said Monday evening.

"We're still currently aggressively assessing the damage from that," Pena said.

Information was not available regarding how many of the structures were homes. The assessment is expected to be completed by Wednesday.

The Nature Center at the Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area was burned by the fire, Los Angeles County parks officials said. The area is closed until further notice.

The Bobcat Fire was 18-percent contained Tuesday morning.

The blaze advanced again on Mount Wilson Monday while prompting fresh evacuation orders as officials worked to prevent the flames from spreading out of the Antelope Valley foothills.

Fire officials said that while the fire continues to burn below the Mount Wilson Observatory and was making "a hard push," they are employing a variety of techniques to make sure key infrastructure is protected.

"The Bobcat Fire has picked up again and is making its way towards the northwest slope of the Mt. Wilson Drainage. Cal Fire is planning another strategic firing operation on the north/northwest slope of Mt. Wilson. Resources have made their way back to the lower parking lot," Mount Wilson Observatory representatives wrote on Twitter.

The National Weather Service reported that winds near the observatory were blowing about 5-10 mph and relative humidity was at about 30%-35% Monday afternoon.

"The area around Mt. Wilson experienced unfavorable wind conditions through the afternoon delaying strategic firing operations,'' the U.S. Forest Service said.

Two private drones being flown in the area late Monday morning prompted the 30-minute grounding of a fixed-wing aircraft and the diversion of other aircraft resources to the northwest part of the fire as a precaution, a fire official said.

There was no immediate word on who was operating the drones.

See the latest evacuations here.

The U.S. Forest Service reported shortly before 2 p.m. that the aircraft was back in the air.

Officials said the fire continued to flare up around Mount Wilson, home not only one of the crown jewels of astronomy but also home to infrastructure that transmits cellphone signals and television and radio broadcasts for the greater Los Angeles Area, over the weekend. Once again, though, firefighters were able to protect the area from any damage.

A total of 1,513 personnel were assigned to the fire as of Monday evening.

A closure order has been issued for national forests in Southern California, including the Angeles National Forest.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health warned Sunday that air quality will be unhealthy through Monday for people in the East San Gabriel Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains. Residents were advised to limit their outdoor exposure as much as possible, and keep doors and windows closed.

The Bobcat Fire has now grown to more than 100,000 acres burning through the Angeles National Forest and destroying homes in the Antelope Valley. Kim Tobin reports on Sept. 20, 2020

The Bobcat Fire erupted on Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area northeast of Mount Wilson and within the Angeles National Forest. The cause remains under investigation. Full containment is not expected until Oct. 30.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
Contact Us