ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST (CBSLA/AP) — A dozen aircraft dropped water and fire retardant as crews worked in steep terrain Tuesday to battle a blaze near an historic observatory and communications towers on Mount Wilson northeast of Los Angeles.
A huge plume of smoke was visible across the Los Angeles basin and surrounding valleys after the flames broke out before dawn near the 5,710 foot peak.
The fire was on a mountainside just below the observatory and a facility that houses critical broadcast and communications antennas for the region.
At about 3 p.m. the fire had burned 30 acres and was 10 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which reported that water-dropping helicopters and air tankers were holding the flames in check. About 200 firefighters fought the blaze.
Chantry Flat and surrounding camp areas were evacuated, and Red Box and Mt. Wilson roads were closed to the public.
The observatory about 25 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles was evacuated and the fire was not burning near foothill residences.
The observatory encompasses several historic instruments including the 100-inch Hooker Telescope, one of the most famous telescopes of the first half of the 20th century. The 100th anniversary of its first observation during the night and early morning of Nov. 1-2, 1917, will be celebrated next month.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.)