Firefighters making progress on massive Bobcat Fire - one of the largest in LA County history

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By KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO

Firefighters have made progress on the stubborn Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest.

Containment has grown to 17

Larry Smith, firefighter spokesman, and tells KNX there are two main areas of focus today.

The other area of focus is the northeast corner of the fire.

UPDATED EVACUATION ORDERS AND WARNINGS TODAY

Firefighters say there will be smoke plumes from back-fires north of Mount Wilson.

The Bobcat Fire is one of the largest in LA County history.

It's burned more than 109,000 acres.

Close to 30 buildings have been destroyed some of them homes when the fire climbed down the foothills of the high desert where evacuation orders are still in effect.

"On Friday, on the 18th, we incurred structure loss ... the fire came off of the 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."

Video of the fire showed bright orange flames in the rugged terrain around Mt. Wilson where it also threatens broadcast and cell phone towers.

Flames damaged or destroyed homes and cars in Juniper Hills on the north end of the blaze.  

People living in Sierra Madre though were happy the fire seemed to have skipped by them. 

Crews were still working to protect the Mt Wilson Observatory and the vital communications equipment on top of the mountain.   

MONDAY EVACUATION ORDERS AND WARNINGS:

• South and West of Upper Big Tujunga, East of Angeles Forest Hwy, North of Angeles Crest Hwy

• 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. (Sand)

• South of Hwy 138, North of East Ave W-14, East of 155th St East, and West of 165th East. (Clear)

• South of Mt. Emma Rd., North of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Rd., East of Angeles Forest Highway, and West of Pacifico Mountain.

EVACUATION 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. (Cardinal)

• South of Ave U-8, North of East Ave W-14, East of 121st East, and West of 155th St East. (Longview)

• 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. (Emma)

• South of Mt. Emma Rd., North of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Rd., East of Angeles Forest Highway, and West of Pacifico Mountain.

The mammoth Bobcat fire continues on its path of destruction, burning over 100,000 acres, burning homes, structures, and now a nature center, a geological attraction located in the Devil's Punchbowl area.

The 1,310-acre “geological wonder” that hosts some 130,000 visitors annually, the wind-driven fire spread to the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area, according to the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation.

“It was truly a gem of education for our youth and residents of the County,” the department told KTLA.

According to the incident page for the Bobcat fire on Sunday "Today’s priorities for work on the Bobcat Fire are to continue work on the control lines. These lines are being built in the northeastern and northwestern portions of the fire in order to stop the forward progression. Additionally, firefighters will continue to mop up and secure the areas around structures where the fire burned into Antelope Valley and Juniper Hills. We will also be looking for ways to secure the line between Mt. Wilson and Highway 2 to eliminate the threat to that area."

On Saturday LA County Sheriff's Department said "The Unified Incident Command Teams have issued an evacuation WARNING for the following area: 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"

According to the incident page:

New Evacuation Order 1430 9/19/20:- South of 138th St East, North of Big Pines Hwy and Hwy 2, West of 263rd East, East of Largo Vista Rd.

Evacuation Orders

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

- Including the area East of Devils Punch Bowl Rd, South of the Big Pines Hwy, North of the Big Rock Creek, and West of Jackson Lake.

-Aqueduct - South of Pearblossom Hwy (SR138), North of Big Pines, East of 165th and West of Largo Vista Rd

-Ward- North of Fort Tejon Rd, South of Avenue V, East of 87th E., West of 121 St E.

-Longview-South of Avenue 12, North of Aqueduct, West of 165 St E and East of 121 St E.

-Tejon - South of Fort Tejon Rd, North of Cooley Place, East of 89th St. E. and West of Longview Rd.

-Peach - North of Pallett Creek, South of W. 114th St., East of Longview Rd and West of 165th St.

- Cima Block - 96th east to 116th St. E/Fort Tejon Rd south to SR 2

-Juniper Block- 116th E to Devis Punchbowl Rd / Fort Tejor Rd to SR 2

-Punchbowl Block - Devils Punchbowl Rd to and including Fenner Camp

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

-Chilao, the CalTrans Yard, the 3 Points area and the Angeles Crest Christian Camp were all issued Evacuation Orders Crystal Lake area remains under Evacuation Order.

On Friday, it's what firefighters and homeowners did not want to hear about the Bobcat Fire.

Homes are burning in Juniper Hills. That's not far from Little Rock and Pear Blossom in the high desert.

Firefighters are now focusing their efforts along the foothills of the Antelope Valley -- where the fire has split into three heads.

Additional evacuation orders have been issued forcing residents to leave their homes near Highway 39, south of East Fork Road, west of Glendora Mountain Road and north of Glendora Ridge Road.

There are NEW Evacuation Orders Friday afternoon:

Evacuation Order has been issued for the following areas: -South of Pearblossom Hwy -North of Big Pines Hwy -West of Largo Vista Rd. -East of 165th St East according to the LA County Sheriff's Department.

LA County Sheriff's Department also had more evacuation orders on Friday afternoon: "Evacuation Order has been issued for the following area: -Evacuation Order includes areas east of Hwy 39, south of East Fork Rd, west of GMR, and north of Glendora Ridge Rd."

The Department also tweeted late Friday afternoon more evacuations: "Evacuation Warning has been Issued for the following area: -South of East Ave V, North of Fort Tejon Rd, West of 121st East, East of 87th St, East. -South of East Ave U-12, North of East Av W-14, West of 165th St East, East of 121st East."

LA County Fire Captain David Dantic tells KNX firefighters are also hard at work to protect the Mount Wilson Observatory.

According to Angeles National Forest on Twitter "Crews are prepping structures near Mt. Wilson, & are ready to fire if needed. The fire has spotted west & is being held in check by air resources. Retardant is being placed around Mt. Wilson. The active firefight in the north continues with structure protection."

The fire has burned more than 60,000 acres. Containment is up from nine to 15 percent.

Firefighters are working on Friday to slow down the Bobcat Fire before it reaches some communities on the edge of the high desert.

An evacuation warning has been issued for Wrightwood.

LA County Fire Captain David Dantic tells KNX the stubborn fire continues to burn north-northeast which is where firefighters will put most of their focus.

Crews battling the 60,000-acre Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest have the fire now 15% contained. Firefighters are focused on protecting Mt. Wilson and the evacuated communities on the northern side of the fire.

Containing the fire around Mt. Wilson has been tough due to erratic winds pushing the fire around the peak from the south to the north and the fire could still make a run at the Observatory and Broadcast Towers.

In addition to more use of airpower on the Northern Edge of the fire, fire commanders could set up a base for resources on the North Side of the San Gabriel’s with firefighters and their logistical support a lot closer to the oncoming blaze they can fight it more effectively than before.

On Thursday afternoon there were more evacuation orders: