Bobcat Fire Still 92% Contained as Weather Set to Improve


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Firefighters were expected to get a break from the weather this weekend as they approach full containment of the 115,796-acre Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest.

The fire was holding at 92% containment of Saturday, according to ANF officials, with full containment still estimated for Oct. 30.

A brief period of critical fire weather conditions due to high temperatures, low humidity and moderate winds ended Friday night. Temperatures were expected to be slightly lower Saturday and drop more significantly beginning Sunday, when highs in the 80s were expected in the San Gabriel Valley and the lower 90s in the Antelope Valley, the two areas impacted by the fire.

The blaze has destroyed 171 structures, including 87 residences, and damaged 47 structures, including 28 residences. Six injuries have been reported.

President Donald Trump has reversed course and approved California's bid for disaster relief funds to assist the response to wildfires statewide,including in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. After initially rejecting the request, the federal government approved California's bid on Friday. “Just got off the phone with President (Donald) Trump who has approved our major disaster declaration request,” Gov. Gavin Newsom announced. “Grateful for his quick response.”

The declaration frees up millions of dollars in federal relief funding for recovery efforts across the state, including in response to the Bobcat Fire, the Valley Fire in San Diego County and blazes in San Bernardino, Fresno, Madera, Mendocino and Siskiyou counties.

The federal government initially rejected the state's request for a disaster declaration and accompanying relief funds. The Federal Emergency Management Agency determined that there were already sufficient local and federal resources in place to respond to the specific fires cited in thestate's request.

The denial highlighted the political animosity between the state and Trump, who has repeatedly assailed California's forest-management and wildfire-preparation measures. The president last year suggested that the federal government withhold emergency funds from the state absent major policy changes,but he never followed through.

Emergency funding from FEMA can cover as much as 75% of local fire-response efforts.

According to the governor's office, the presidential declaration “helps people in the impacted counties through eligibility for support including crisis counseling, housing and unemployment assistance and legal services.”

The Bobcat Fire was reported near Cogswell Dam in the Angeles National Forest at 12:21 p.m. on Sept. 6. An investigation is underway to determine if the fire was sparked by vegetation coming into contact with a Southern California Edison overhead conductor. Forest Service investigators have not discussed the details of theinvestigation with SCE.

All evacuation orders have been canceled and most roads have been reopened, with the exception of Big Santa Anita Rd (the Chantry Road).

The cost of fighting the fire has not been determined.

A map, compiled from ongoing field damage inspection and subject to change, can be viewed at lacounty.gov/recovery/damage-inspection.