Bobcat Fire: Blaze Grows To Over 36K Acres; Containment Remains At 6%


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The Bobcat Fire continues to grow in the Angeles National Forest, threatening homes and prompting evacuations in some foothill communities yesterday.

The blaze erupted last Sunday near the Cogswell Dam and then spread rapidly amid an intense, record-breaking heat wave, prompting evacuation orders for Mt. Wilson Observatory. The cause is under investigation.

Firefighters continue to work in steep difficult terrain with help from helicopters and planes. Crews are hoping to take advantage of low winds forecasted for the next few days to build some containment lines around the flames.

The focus today is protecting foothill communities and Mt. Wilson, U.S. Forest Service officials tweeted this morning.

This morning the Bobcat Fire is at 36,366 acres and 6% containment. Crews today will be focused on protecting foothills communities and Mt. Wilson. To the north it stayed south of Highway 2 and west of 39. Tonight will be a virtual public meeting via Zoom at 6:30 PM. #BobcatFire

On Sunday morning, the city of Arcadia issued an evacuation order for all residents who live north of Elkins Avenue and east of Santa Anita Avenue. That area includes some homes in the adjecent city of Sierra Madre. The orders remained in place overnight Sunday.

An evacuation order is also in effect for Camp Williams, located just east of the burn zone in the Angeles National Forest.

« Residents should have evacuation plans in place, organize their emergency evacuation supplies, and have essential evacuation personal belongings easily accessible, » U.S. Forest Service officials wrote on the fire incident page. « Vehicles should be fully fueled, facing out in their driveways and ready to leave. »

A Red Cross Evacuation Center was re-established at Santa Anita Park, 285 W. Huntington Drive (entry at Gate 5).

L.A. County officials said a shelter site for horses has been established at the Pomona Fairplex (entry at Gate 12).

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has extended a smoke advisory through this afternoon. Smoke and ash continue to blanket portions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, bringing unhealthy air quality.

The Mount Wilson Observatory houses 18 telescopes, many of which were used to make some of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the last century.

They include the 100 inch Hooker telescope that Edwin Hubble used in the 1920s to prove that our universe is still expanding.

Observatory Director Tom Meneghini said he’s afraid they could be seriously impacted if the fire gets close enough.

“The heat can do irreparable damage. Our two big telescopes are historically significant and irreplaceable,” Meneghini said.

However, he said fires have gotten close before and the decades-old firefighting setup at the Observatory is ready to be used again.

« We have an inground system of hoses and pumps, » he said. « We have half a million gallons of water ready to pump so that’s all been prepared for any fire professional to come in and take over. »

The fire also threatens a seismic station that has recorded earthquake activity for 100 years, seismologist Lucy Jones said via Twitter.

Numerous television and radio stations have transmitters in the area, including our newsroom which broadcasts on the radio at 89.3 KPCC.

This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

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The El Dorado Fire continues to burn in the San Bernardino Mountains near Yucaipa, forcing evacuations of thousands of homes.

The El Dorado Fire began on Saturday, September 5, with a bang — literally — when a firework from a gender reveal party in Yucaipa ignited a blaze that has threatened thousands of homes and caused the mandatory evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

Firefighters are continue to cut firelines, and are getting support from helicopters and planes to slow the blaze’s progress.

Hand crews are building a contingency line between Highway 38 and the 2015 Lake Fire burn scar, while other crews do similar work along Mill Creek from Vivian Creek to the burn scar of last month’s Apple Fire.

Crews are also holding the line near Forest Falls and continue to patrol and mop up hot spots.

« Firefighters remain in position to provide structure protection with direct hose lines while increasing defensible space, » officials wrote in an update on the incident page.

On Monday morning, San Bernardino National Forest officials had a message for residents in the Angelus Oaks area who were still at their homes: get out now.

All residents who have not yet evacuated in the Angelus Oaks area please EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY. @CALFIREBDU @CHP_San_Berdoo @sbcountysheriff @SBCOUNTYFIRE

All evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted for residents in Yucaipa, Oak Glen and Mentone. Officials are asking residents to use caution as they return to their homes due to the emergency crews still working in the area.

« Low humidities and less smoke will result in more active fire behavior today, » fire officials said.

Warm and dry conditions are expected in the burn area today, a trend that will continue over the next few days, according to officials.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has extended a smoke advisory through this afternoon. Smoke continues to blanket much of the Southland this week, bringing unhealthy air quality with it.

The family behind the party where authorities say a pyrotechnic device was set off tried to put out the fire and called 911, but it was too late. They have cooperated with authorities, but Cal Fire spokesperson Captain Bennett Malloy says it’s possible they could face misdemeanor charges:

« Some of the laws they could have broken: a public resource code where you cause a fire on somebody else’s land, or, in California under a penal code, there’s provisions for what’s called recklessly causing a fire. And that may be the case with this fire, but that would be up to the district attorney to determine. »

Prosecutors could pursue felony charges if someone is hurt or killed, or if homes are damaged by the fire. Though no charges had been filed yet.

This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

Working age Latinos — that’s anyone between 18 to 69 years old — are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than other races. And even though they’re keeping the city running, they’re also experiencing widespread financial harm during the pandemic.

A new NPR poll found that seven out of 10 Latino households are struggling financially. That’s more than any other race in L.A.

“It was at the beginning, so nobody knew anything and it didn’t get better,” one Latina worker who participated in the poll recently told me. “I just couldn’t afford to continue to go to the doctor.”

Back in March, two days after the coronavirus pandemic forced Pasadena’s John Muir High School to close its doors, history teacher Manuel Rustin sent his juniors an assignment: a simple, three-page essay.

“If you would’ve told me at that time, when I sent that out,” Rustin recalled over Zoom, “that I would arrive at a place where I’d give all my students A’s, I would be like, ‘Impossible!’”

Not just A’s on that assignment; A’s for the entire semester — and for Rustin, this essay was the turning point.

No districts across L.A. County went quite as far as Rustin last spring — but many did relax their grading policies.

But as they did so, Yvette King-Berg decided the charter schools she oversaw would hold firm.

“I was like, ‘No,’” recalled King-Berg, who runs the YPI Charter Schools network. “You have had 10 weeks of instruction. You need to continue to work for your grades. We’re going to continue to check for mastery.”

After nearly one month of trials and practice runs, Los Angeles public school officials have announced they’re ready to start testing all of the district’s students and staff members every so often for COVID-19.

L.A. Unified School District officials said the first invitations for coronavirus screenings went out last week: some 5,000 district staff working on campuses and their children, who are receiving special on-site child care, took tests on Thursday and Friday. Testing for this group of employees will continue this week.

By the end of this week, Beutner expects all LAUSD staff to receive invitations for COVID-19 tests at one of 42 sites district-wide. Within a few more weeks, he expects the program to expand to all students, starting at the elementary level.

Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

On Saturday night, after covering a press conference held by L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, KPCC/LAist reporter Josie Huang was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies.

Josie was attempting to film the arrest of a protester outside a hospital in Lynwood where two deputies were being treated after being shot in Compton. In a video taken by our friends at ABC7, Josie can be seen with five male deputies pinning her to the ground. In another video, taken with her own phone, which continued filming even after it was dropped, she can be heard screaming in pain and repeatedly stating that she is a reporter with KPCC as the deputies handcuff her and hold down her legs.

Josie was in police custody for five hours and faces an obstruction of justice charge, as LASD alleges she interfered with an arrest. After her arrest, LASD tweeted a lie, stating that she “did not identify herself as press.” As of this writing, that tweet is still up on the LASD account.

Our organization has requested that the charges against Josie be dropped. We’ll provide ongoing updates on her situation, our newsroom’s response, and LASD’s response. And we will, of course, also report on the shooting itself and what we hope will be a full recovery for the deputies.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Latino/as account for more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other ethnicity in California, and the virus is also affecting their financial health. Jackie Fortiér reports on a new poll from NPR and Harvard, which found that 70% of Latino/as in L.A. report serious financial problems due to the pandemic.

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with « El Grito » online, learn about the architecture of the LBC, enjoy a pre-Code film about a ne’er-do-well plastic surgeon, and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best online and IRL events.

L.A. Sheriff’s Department: Two deputies were in critical condition Sunday night after being shot multiple times while sitting in a patrol car in Compton. While covering the shooting of those deputies, KPCC/LAist reporter Josie Huang was arrested by L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies Saturday night. She explains what happened in her own words.

More LASD News: Protesters expressed anger at the fact that the deputies who killed Dijon Kizzee are not being named, and that LASD decided to place a security hold on Kizzee’s autopsy.

Wildfires: The El Dorado Fire has burned more than 14,200 acres in the San Bernardino Forest, and is at 41% containment. The Bobcat Fire has burned more than 33,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest, and is at 6% containment.

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County reported 816 new cases of the coronavirus and 11 new deaths attributed to the disease, while Orange County reported 170 new cases and no new deaths.

Mel Cohen removes family photos from his home on Highland Vista during evacuations as the Bobcat fire approaches the foothill community of Arcadia.

The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don’t pan out. Others get added. Consider this today’s first draft, and check for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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