What to Know
- The Bobcat Fire was estimated at nearly 114,000 acres with containment at 50 percent early Thursday.
- The fire started Sept. 6 in the mountains overlooking the San Gabriel Valley.
- Flames spread to the north, now threatening Antelope Valley foothill communities.
Containment of the Bobcat Fire in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles expanded to 50% Thursday morning, marking progress for firefighters who have been battling the fire for nearly three weeks.
Unhealthy smoke continues to billow from the nearly 114,000-acre fire burning primarily in the northern Angeles National Forest. The fire started Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area northeast of Mount Wilson before burning toward the Antelope Valley.
“Fire activity has moderated, and only 253 acres were added overnight,'' Angeles National Forest officials said Thursday.
Full containment is not expected until the end of October.
Reduced winds, lower temperatures and higher humidity limited fire activity Tuesday, but Wednesday brought warmer and drier conditions, which were expected to continue Thursday, with southwesterly and up-canyon winds.
Firefighters earlier this week successfully set backfires, including from the air, to destroy vegetation fueling the blaze and protect the Mount Wilson Observatory and several broadcast and telecommunications towers. Similar tactics were planned for Thursday.
The cause has not been determined, but U.S. Forest Service officials are investigating an equipment issue involving Southern California Edison that happened around the time the fire broke out.
“While USFS has not alleged that SCE facilities were involved in the ignition of the Bobcat Fire, SCE submits this report in an abundance of caution given USFS's interest in retaining SCE facilities in connection with its investigation,'' the utility said.
The Angeles National Forest will be closed through Oct. 1, the U.S. Forest Service said.
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.
Flames have destroyed 52 structures and affected another 14, with three sustaining minor damage and one suffering major damage, according to a damage assessment provided by Los Angeles County officials. That map, which is compiled from ongoing field damage inspection and subject to change, can be viewed here.
Evacuation orders remain in effect for several foothills communities.
Evacuation warnings for Altadena and Pasadena issued on Sept. 8 have been lifted, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Repopulation orders were in effect at 2 p.m. on Thursday for residents in the East Fork areas of Julius Klein Conservation Camp 19, Camp Williams and River Community, the sheriff's department reported.
At about 7 a.m. Thursday, evacuation warnings were changed to a “repopulation order” with “no restrictions” for the following areas:
- Clear Areas: north of East Avenue W-14, south of Pearblossom Highway, east of 155th Street East, west of 165th Street East.
- Sand Areas: north of Big Pine Highway and Highway 2, south of 138th Street East, east of Largo Vista Road, west of 263rd Street. The southwestern region of the Sand Area may have power outages.
- Ward Areas: north of Fort Tejon Road, south of East Avenue V, east of 87th Street East, west of 121st Street East.
The fire has burned more acres than the Woolsey Fire of 2018, which scorched 96,271 acres, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Tuesday. The Station Fire in 2009 burned 160,577 acres.
A total of 1,575 personnel were assigned to the fire as of Thursday night.