Bobcat Fire: The Massive Blaze Has Now Burned More than 103K Acres

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This story is no longer being updated. Follow our coverage of the Bobcat Fire for Monday, Sept. 21>>

Yesterday’s coverage:

The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest continues to grow in its 15th day. The fire has grown aggressively in recent days, driven by strong wind gusts.

Watch the evening update for Sunday:

Here’s what else we know about the fire so far today.

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 103,135 acres
  • Containment: 15%
  • Resources deployed: 1,718 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.

EVACUATIONS

Mandatory

Emergency officials issued evacuation orders for residents in the following areas as of Sunday evening:

  • Residences along Angeles Crest Highway, between Angeles Forest Highway and Highway 39.
  • The unincorporated areas of Juniper Hills, Devils Punch Bowl, and Paradise Springs.
  • The unincorporated areas of Crystal Lake, East Fork of the San Gabriel River, and Camp Williams.
  • South of Hwy 138, north of Big Rock Creek, East of 87th St East, and west of Largo Vista Rd.
  • South of 138th St. East, north of Big Pine Hwy and Hwy 2, east of Largo Vista Rd., and west of 263rd St. East.
  • South of Hwy 138, north of East Ave W-14, east of 155th St East, and 3est of 165th St. East.

Warnings

  • City of Pasadena

  • Unincorporated communities of Altadena and Wrightwood.

  • South of Pearblossom Hwy

  • East and north of Angeles Forest Hwy, north and west of Mt. Emma Rd., east and south of Hwy 122, and west of Cheseboro Rd.

  • South of Hwy 2, north of Blue Ridge Truck Trail, east of Hwy 39, and west of the Los Angeles Co. border.

  • South of Ave U-8, north of east Ave W-14, east of 121st East, and west of 155th St East.

  • South of Pearblossom Hwy (Hwy 138), south and east of Pearblossom Hwy (Hwy 122), north and west of Mt. Emma Rd., north and east of Angeles Forest Hwy, and west of Cheseboro Rd.

  • South of Mt. Emma Rd., north of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Rd., east of Angeles Forest Highway, and west of Pacifico Mountain

“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:

(Courtesy U.S. Forest Service)

Warnings

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:

  • Monrovia
  • Arcadia
  • Sierra Madre
  • Bradbury
  • Duarte
  • Pasadena
  • Altadena
  • 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.

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A firefighting aircraft drops the fire retardant Phos-Chek as the Bobcat Fire threatens nearby homes on Sept. 17, 2020 in Juniper Hills. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SHELTER SITES

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).

CLOSURES

  • 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

AIR QUALITY

Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.

ABOUT MT. WILSON

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Firefighters on duty to protect Mt. Wilson Observatory and nearby broadcast towers as the Bobcat Fire burns in the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 17, 2020. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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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