ARCADIA (CBSLA) – The battle against the continually growing Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest north of Monrovia entered its ninth day Monday, with several hundred homes under orders to evacuate and the Mount Wilson area at risk.
The fire grew to 38,299 acres Monday evening and dropped down to 3% containment. No homes have been destroyed so far.
Winds Sunday helped push out some of the smoke that has enveloped the region, but also helped fuel the fire.
“The thing that breaks my heart is that there’s some old, old trees up there that have never been burned that are gone now,” Arcadia resident John Matheny told CBSLA Monday, reminiscing about some of the trails he has hiked with his sons.
An evacuation order was issued for portions of Arcadia and Sierra Madre Sunday afternoon. They apply to all residents north of Elkins Avenue and east of Santa Anita Avenue. It includes about 300 homes.
The San Gabriel foothill communities of Monrovia, Bradbury, Sierra Madre, Altadena, Duarte and Pasadena remain under evacuation warnings, with residents their told to prepare to leave at a moment’s notice.
The blaze was moving both south towards Monrovia and north towards State Route 2 in the Buckhorn area. Firefighters have been able to hold the fire from crossing Highway 39, and also extinguishing any spot fires which broke out north of Highway 2.
Along with protecting the foothill communities, firefighters Monday would also be focused on protecting the Mount Wilson Observatory.
“The fire has crossed to the west side of Santa Anita Canyon and is growing in the direction of Mt. Wilson and Mt. Harvard and continued line construction and strategic firing will be occurring in this area as well,” the Angeles National Forest wrote Monday on its incident information page.
“While we hope the Observatory makes it through relatively unscathed, the battle could go either way,” Mt. Wilson Observatory Chairman Sam Hale wrote in a letter posted to the Observatory’s Facebook page Monday.
The Bobcat Fire broke out a little after noon on Sept. 6 amid triple-digit temperatures near the Cogswell Dam and the West Fork Day Use area. The fire is churning through thick vegetation and dry brush in steep terrain, some of which has not burned in more 60 years.
A public community meeting over Zoom is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday.
A little under 900 firefighters are assigned to the blaze, along with several water-dropping helicopters and retardant-dropping tankers.
Earlier this week, all 18 of California’s national forests, including the Angeles National Forest, were closed to the public.