Bobcat Fire Grows to Nearly 100,000 Acres, Continues to Threaten Homes

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest grew to an estimated 99,428 acres today with just 15% containment, and officials warned that the flames would continue to spread from the Antelope Valley foothills into the communities of Juniper Hills, Valyermo and Big Pine.

The fire remained active overnight due to poor humidity recovery, and spotting continues to present challenges, according to the U.S. Forest Service, but progress was reported on the south end of the fire in the San Gabriel Valley area.

“Progress was made on holding containment lines on the south end of the fire. Heavy fire activity took place to the north end of the fire where crews worked on constructing indirect line from the north east coming to the south, as well as the north west coming to the south,” the Forest Service said.

“Dozerline is being constructed to cut the fire off, this work is starting at Camp Singing Pines heading north.”

Evacuation orders were in place for all residents south of 138th Street East, north of Big Pine Highway and Highway 2, west of 263rd East and east of Largo Vista Road. On Saturday night, the unified fire command issued new evacuation orders for people living northwest of Mt. Emma, southeast of Highway 122 and west of Cheeseboro Road.

Evacuation orders were also in effect for residents:

-- North of Angeles Crest North and between Clear Creek Station and Hwy 39

-- East of Devils Punch Bowl Road, south of the Big Pines Hwy, north of the Big Rock Creek, and west of Jackson Lake

-- South of Pearblossom Hwy (SR-138), north of Big Pines, east of 165th and west of Largo Vista Road

-- North of Fort Tejon Road, south of Avenue V, east of 87th E., west of 121 St E.

-- South of Avenue 12, north of Aqueduct, west of 165 St E and east of 121 St E.

-- South of Fort Tejon Road, north of Cooley Place, east of 89th St. E. and west of Longview Road

-- North of Pallett Creek, south of W. 114th St., east of Longview Road and west of 165th St.

-- 96th east to 116th St. E/Fort Tejon Road south to SR 2

-- 116th E to Devils Punchbowl Road/Fort Tejon Road to SR 2

-- Devils Punchbowl Road to and including Fenner Camp

-- Fenner Camp to intersection of SR 2 and Big Pines

-- Chilao, the CalTrans Yard, the 3 Points area and Angeles Crest Christian Camp and the Crystal Lake area.


Photo: Getty Images

Structures have been damaged in the Antelope Valley and losses were expected, according to Vince Pena, unified incident commander with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The number of homes affected was not available.

Earlier broadcast reports from the scene showed structures that appeared to be homes burning in the Juniper Hills area, but the U.S. Forest Service could not confirm that.

“Yesterday the fire was very active due to the very windy conditions, the fire reached Juniper Hills and the adjacent communities, homes were threatened and impacted,” the Forest Service said. “A strategic firing operation occurred to establish a secure line between the Ranch 2 Fire scar and Highway 39. Elsewhere on the fire crews had success improving and securing lines.”

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

On the fire's southern end, evacuation warnings were lifted Saturday for the communities of Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Monrovia, Bradbury and Duarte in the San Gabriel Valley, while the warnings for Altadena and Pasadena remained in effect.

A Red Cross evacuation center has been set up at Palmdale High School in the Antelope Valley, while the earlier evacuation point at Santa Anita Park for those in the San Gabriel Valley was closed. Anyone still needing assistance was urged to call the Disaster Distress Hotline at 800-675-5799.

Officials urged residents to be alert for any additional evacuation orders or warnings. Lower temperatures were expected to aid the firefighting effort, however.

Officials said the fire continued to flare up around Mt. 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. Once again, though, firefighters were able to protect the area from any damage.

A total of 1,686 personnel are currently assigned to the fire. The Los Angeles Fire Department sent two strike teams under the mutual aid agreement to help fight the Bobcat Fire, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

A closure order has been issued for national forests in Southern California including the ANF.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District extended its smoke advisory through Sunday, with officials warning that “smoke may impact different parts of the region at different times.”

Residents were advised to limit their outdoor exposure as much as possible, and keep doors and windows closed.

Full containment of the fire is not expected until Oct. 30.

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.

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