ARCADIA (CBSLA) – Several structures were threatened Friday in a massive wildfire in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest.
The Bobcat Fire pushed deeper into the Juniper Hills area by late afternoon, where an unknown number of homes have burned on the northeast side of the fire.
Residents east of Highway 39, south of East Fork Road, west of Glendora Mountain Road and north of Glendora Ridge Road were the latest to be ordered to evacuate due to the 72,757-acre Bobcat Fire.
Other evacuation orders remain in effect in the Antelope Valley, while containment widened Friday afternoon from 9% to 15%, officials said.
Wind gusts peaked at 44 mph in the Angeles National Forest near the border of Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County, according to the National Weather Service, causing issues for crews.
“Biggest challenge is weather, right? A lot of it revolves around weather visibility, so for about 3 to 5 days we couldn’t get any aviation assets up here to help,” said Oscar Vargas, Division Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. “This is old growth brush and big trees with not so much fire in the last 100 years so the buildup was there, a lot of steep terrain that caused the fire to run up hill a lot faster, so were were seeing the extreme ends of fuel conditions, weather, and topography.”
Just a day earlier, mandatory evacuations were issued for the communities of Juniper Hills, the Devils Punchbowl and Paradise Springs, along with the area north of North of Angeles Crest North, and between Clear Creek Station and Highway 39.
On Friday, plumes of smoke could be seen in Glendale and other surrounding communities as crews continued to work toward containment of the growing blaze. Despite the smoky air, officials in Glendale said there was no imminent fire threat to the city.
“It’s on a whole different level the year. It’s been on-going for several weeks and seems like we’ve had more than one fire and the smoke is just completely out of control, air quality is horrible,” said Azusa resident Joe Casas, who has been concerned about the fire activity this summer.
To the west, firefighters continued to protect the historic Mount Wilson Observatory and several radio and television broadcaster towers valued at about $1 billion.
“Mt. Wilson is still safe and we will continue to focus on the north end of the fire,” USFS tweeted Friday.
To the south, an evacuation warning remains in effect for the San Gabriel foothill communities of Wrightwood, Monrovia, Bradbury, Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Altadena, Duarte and Pasadena.
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.
The cause is under investigation. More than 1,300 firefighters are battling the blaze.
A Red Cross temporary evacuation point has been set up at Palmdale High School. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, evacuees are being given vouchers to hotels.
All 18 National Forests in California will remain closed through at least Monday, Sept. 21, due to the historic number of wildfires burning up and down the state. All 18 forests have been closed since Sept. 9.
- North of Avenue X, South of Pearblossom Hwy, East of 155Th St. East, West of 165Th St. East
- South of Avenue V, North of Fort Tejon Rd, West of 121st East, East of 87th St, East
- South of Pearblossom Hwy, North of Weber Ranch Rd, West of 87Th Street East, East of Cheseboro Rd.
- North of Angeles Crest North and between Clear Creek Station and Hwy 39.
- Juniper Hills
- Devils Punchbowl
- Paradise Springs
- Including the area east of Devils Punch Bowl Road, south of the Big Pines Highway, north of the Big Rock Creek, and west of Jackson Lake.
- Sierra Madre
- Residents north of Foothill Blvd. and east of Santa Anita Ave.
- Highway 2 closed from east of Angeles Forest Highway to Big Pines.
- Highway 39 closed from San Gabriel River Bridge to Highway 2.
- Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road closed Angeles Forest Highway to Highway 2.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)