Bobcat Fire continues spreading to the north, burns structures in Juniper Hills

More evacuation warnings issued

Updated September 19  |  9:00 a.m. PDT

Bobcat Fire map
3-D map of the Bobcat Fire, current at 8:15 p.m. PDT Sept. 18, 2020. The white line was the perimeter about 24 hours earlier. Looking south.

Friday afternoon strong winds gusting up to 35 mph pushed the Bobcat Fire north down-slope out of the Angeles National Forest into the Antelope Valley foothill communities of Juniper Hills and Valyermo. Structures burned, but no details have been released.

The Incident Management Team reports that the perimeter now envelops 91,017 acres.

Bobcat Fire map
Map of the Bobcat Fire, current at 8:15 p.m. PDT Sept. 18, 2020. The white line was the perimeter about 24 hours earlier.
Bobcat Fire burned car
Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills, CA. Sept. 18, 2020. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.
Bobcat Fire C-130 air tanker
Air Tanker 131, a C-130, (N130FF) drops on the Bobcat Fire Sept. 18, 2020. InciWeb.
Bobcat Fire
Bobcat Fire, Antelope Valley, Sept. 18, 2020. Photos by Jeff Zimmerman.

Updated  September 18, 2020  |  7:06 p.m. MDT

Bobcat Fire Antelope Valley
North end of the Bobcat Fire spreads into the Antelope Valley, at 6:19 p.m. PDT Sept 18, 2020. NBC4 Los Angeles.

The Bobcat Fire is being pushed northeast into the Antelope Valley by strong winds out of the southwest — 10 mph hour gusting to 35 mph, with 90 degree temperatures and 9 percent relative humidity.

The incident management team had constructed contingency control lines with dozers to prevent the fire from getting into the valley, but the strong winds pushed the flames across the lines. An additional 60 fire engines were called in Friday to augment the forces already on scene.

The LA County Sheriff has issued new evacuation orders and/or warnings for the north and east sides of the fire.

Many of the 10 air tankers were reloading with retardant at the San Bernardino Airport, but late in the afternoon the air tanker base there was running very low on retardant, and directed that the tankers go to alternative bases for their next load. They were expecting that by the time the load after that was needed, the temporary shortage would be mitigated.

Bobcat Fire Antelope Valley
North end of the Bobcat Fire spreads into the Antelope Valley, at 6:19 p.m. PDT Sept 18, 2020. NBC4 Los Angeles.

Updated September 18, 2020  |  4:45 p.m. PDT

Map of the Bobcat Fire
Map of the Bobcat Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 8:18 p.m. PDT Sept. 17. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:36 p.m. PDT Sept. 18, 2020.

Friday afternoon the northern end of the Bobcat Fire pushed down into the foothills at Juniper Hill and Valyermo. Some structures in the area were destroyed and more evacuation orders were issued. The LA County Sheriff has the latest evacuation information.

Firefighters had to briefly shelter in Fire Station 79 on Valyermo Road as the fire moved through the area. There was a report that a pumphouse at the station burned when the fire spread across the road.

Juniper hills structure burns in Bobcat Fire, September 18, 2020
Juniper hills structure burns in Bobcat Fire, September 18, 2020. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

While the fire burns into the desert floor, it is also pushing west, again threatening Mt. Wilson Observatory where approximately six large air tankers are working to slow the spread.

A helicopter is igniting a burning operation, or “strategic aerial firing”, on the eastern perimeter to strengthen containment lines and slow the spread to the east.

There are reports that the community of Big Pines at the intersection of Big Pines Highway and Angeles Crest Highway/2 is threatened.

DC-10 air tanker near Mt. Wilson on the Bobcat Fire at 5:08 p.m. PDT Sept 18, 2020.

September 18, 2020  |  8:33 a.m. PDT

Map of the Bobcat Fire
3-D map of the Bobcat Fire, looking south. The red line was the perimeter at 8:18 p.m. PDT Sept. 17, 2020.

The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest north of Arcadia continued its spread north on Thursday, advancing north of Highway 2.

From the Incident Management Team:

“The Bobcat Fire had very active fire growth in the north end of the perimeter where it reached Juniper Hills and the communities around it, additional aviation assets were requested. Due to the increased fire activity and spread, evacuation orders were expanded to include the northern foothill communities. As the top end of the fire heads northwest and northeast, crews and aviation assets continued to work to keep the fire south of Pearblossom.

“On the west end of the fire, firefighters will be scouting for additional opportunities to build both indirect and direct fire lines to protect the area around Chilao. Fire activity remained active around Mt. Wilson with crews and equipment working very hard to protect infrastructure. To the east, downslope winds activated eastward fire movement near the San Gabriel Reservoir.”

An evacuation warning was issued Thursday night for residents in the unincorporated community of Wrightwood approximately 10 miles east of the fire.

The blaze was mapped overnight at 60,557 acres.

Map of the Bobcat Fire
Map of the Bobcat Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 8:18 p.m. PDT Sept. 17. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:06 a.m. PDT Sept. 18, 2020.

Bobcat Fire crosses Angeles Crest Highway

Updated maps of the Southern California fire

map of the Bobcat Fire
3-D map of the Bobcat Fire. The red line was the perimeter as mapped by an aircraft at 10:48 p.m. MDT Sept. 15, 2020. Looking north-northeast.

The north end of the Bobcat fire has burned across the Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy. 2) burning approximately 800 acres on the north side near Waterman Mountain and Cooper Canyon.

Seven air tankers were used to help firefighters contain the spot fires north of the highway until about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when smoke limited the visibility. When the smoke cleared at 3:30 several tankers were again used.

Firefighters are holding on to what has been accomplished on the rest of the fire over the last few days near the foothill communities and Mt. Wilson Observatory. Crews are strengthening the lines and looking for opportunities to attack the fire directly. Additional strategic firing may occur as necessary to secure the lines, including along along Highway 39.

The blaze is burning on the mountain slopes above the communities of Arcadia, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, and Duarte.

Firefighters conduct firing operation Bobcat Fire
Firefighters conduct firing operation on the Bobcat Fire, Sept. 14, 2020. InciWeb.
map of the Bobcat Fire
Map of the Bobcat Fire. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:42 a.m. PDT Sept 16, 2020. The red line was the perimeter when mapped by an aircraft at 10:48 p.m. MDT Sept. 15, 2020.

Bobcat Fire spreads closer to foothill communities of Arcadia and Monrovia in southern California

Evacuation order issued Sunday morning for a portion of Arcadia

Updated September 13, 2020  |  8:22 p.m. PDT

Bobcat Fire, Sept 13, 2020
Bobcat Fire Sept. 13, 2020. USFS photo.

Firefighters on the ground and in the air fought back the Bobcat Fire as it spread downhill toward Chantry Flat in Santa Anita Canyon Road Sunday afternoon. There was significant western growth towards Mt. Wilson and Mt. Harvard where hand crews and dozers are working to protect the area. Crews conducted strategic firing operations on the north side and six large air tankers dropped retardant. Some of the drops were between the Mt. Wilson Observatory and Sierra Madre.

At the top or north end of the fire crews stopped the spread of spot fires near Buckhorn Flat and Highway 2.

Sunday night the priority will be to protect the foothill communities using the additional resources that recently arrived.

Sunday evening fire officials said the Bobcat Fire had burned 33,312 acres.

firefighters Bobcat Fire
Firefighters constructing fireline on the Bobcat Fire, Sept. 13, 2020.

September 13, 2020  |  10:40 a.m. PDT

 map of the Bobcat Fire
Map of the Bobcat Fire. The white line was the perimeter at 10:24 p.m. PDT Sept 12, 2020. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3 a.m. PDT Sept. 13, 2020.

The Bobcat Fire in Southern California remained active Saturday night and early Sunday morning, continuing to burn downhill toward Monrovia, Sierra Madre, and Duarte. It is also moving north toward SR2 in the Buckhorn Flat area, and there is significant western growth toward Mt Wilson. The fire has burned 31,991 acres.

Sunday morning an evacuation order was issued for residents north of Elkins Avenue and East of Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia. Evacuation sites have been set up at Santa Anita Racetrack. The most current information for Arcadia residents is at the city’s website.

Crews are constructing hand line and dozer line where possible to stop the downhill progression. Indirect lines are being used where direct attack is not possible. As visibility allows, helicopters, when available, are being used to support the ground forces. Elsewhere on the fire the focus will be on keeping it south of Highway 2 and west of Highway 39. Indirect dozer line continues to be constructed to keep the fire away from Mount Wilson and to herd it into the Station Fire scar where there will be significantly reduced fire behavior. This fire has mainly been driven by steep terrain and dry fuels, some of which have not seen fire activity in at least 60 years.

 map of the Bobcat Fire
3-D map of the Bobcat Fire at 10:24 p.m. PDT Sept 12, 2020.

Resources assigned to the fire include 18 hand crews, 72 engines, 5 helicopters, and 7 dozers for a total of 813 personnel.

Bobcat Fire
Bobcat Fire September 12, 2020. InciWeb.
Bobcat Fire
Bobcat Fire September 10, 2020. Photo by Tim Dunfee.

Bobcat Fire spreads east across Highway 39

In the Angeles National Forest above Arcadia and Glendora, southern California

map Bobcat Fire Los Angeles California wildfire
3-D map of the Bobcat Fire at 9:19 p.m. PDT Sept. 9, 2020. Looking north.

The Bobcat Fire burning in the mountains above Arcadia in southern California grew substantially to the east Wednesday crossing Highway 39 above San Gabriel Reservoir. The latest size estimate from the U.S. Forest Service is 19,796 acres.

Firefighters described the fire behavior as very active to extreme with long-range spotting, tree torching, and visible slope runs. With the fire moving to the east there was an opportunity to work on the southern flank to help protect the foothill communities. The main objective was to prepare and strengthen fire lines constructed by dozers and hand crews. As the day progressed and the dense smoke lifted, two air tankers, including a DC-10, were able to make several drops of fire retardant on the southwest portion of the fire to reinforce and strengthen the fire lines. Later in the day a sky crane helicopter arrived on scene.

firefighters Bobcat Fire Los Angeles California wildfire
Firefighters put in a hose lay on the Bobcat Fire September 9, 2020. Photo by Rob Robledo.

Local fire departments continued their structure protection planning and triage efforts within the growing list of foothill communities that are under evacuation warnings — Monrovia, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, Bradbury, Altadena, Duarte, and Pasadena.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Bobcat Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)

The number of resources assigned to the incident has grown, and now includes 19 hand crews, 35 engines, and 1 helicopter, for a total of 652 personnel.

The fire is being managed by a Type 2 incident management from the eastern United States.

These are low numbers for a 20,000-acre wildfire threatening seven high density communities in the wildland-urban interface of the Los Angeles area.

firefighters Bobcat Fire Los Angeles California wildfire
Bobcat Fire September 9, 2020. Photo by Rob Robledo.

Weather forecasters expect northeast winds to continue Thursday, becoming south or southwest in the afternoon. On the higher elevation ridgetops the wind speeds will be 10 to 15 mph gusting to 20 mph. With the relative humidity in the teens on the upper slopes, it is likely that the fire will be active Thursday.

map Bobcat Fire Los Angeles California wildfire
Map of the Bobcat Fire at 9:19 p.m. PDT Sept. 9, 2020. The fire spread further to the east after this perimeter data was collected.
firefighters Bobcat Fire Los Angeles California wildfire
Firefighters put in a hose lay on the Bobcat Fire September 9, 2020. Photo by Rob Robledo.

Bobcat Fire prompts evacuation of Mt. Wilson in southern California

Santa Ana winds predicted for Tuesday could cause the fire to endanger structures in foothill communities. Evacuation warnings have been issued.

Updated September 8, 2020  |  10:07 a.m. PDT

map of the Bobcat Fire
3-D map of the Bobcat Fire looking north at 11:29 p.m. PDT September 7, 2020.

The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest north of Monrovia and Duarte in southern California grew on Monday to 8,553 acres.

Evacuation warnings (be ready to evacuate if necessary) have been issued for some communities in the foothills.

map of the Bobcat Fire
3-D map of the Bobcat Fire looking west at 11:29 p.m. PDT September 7, 2020.

The weather forecast predicts strong northeast winds which could cause the fire to spread much more quickly.  The strongest winds are expected Tuesday night and Wednesday morning with gusts between 35 and 55 mph with isolated gusts around 60 mph. Relative humidity will drop into the teens and single digits Tuesday afternoon with little or no recovery (or increase) Tuesday night and Wednesday.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Bobcat Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)

A Red Flag Warning is in effect Tuesday through Wednesday for all areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, except for the Antelope Valley.


 

September 7, 2020 | 8:14 p.m. PDT

map Bobcat Fire
Official map of the Bobcat Fire at 4:30 a.m. PDT Sept 7, 2020. Produced by the Angeles National Forest.

The Bobcat Fire that started in a canyon north of the Los Angeles area has spread south to the ridgetop above the Los Angeles basin cities of Monrovia and Duarte, prompting the evacuation of the Mt. Wilson Observatory and multiple campgrounds. Fire authorities said Monday morning the fire had burned 4,871 acres.

The weather forecast for Santa Ana winds on Tuesday and Wednesday is troubling, and predicts 20 mph northeast winds gusting to 35 mph at the higher elevations beginning by noon Tuesday. The forecast is unclear about the winds in the lower elevations, but strong northeast winds could cause the spread of the Bobcat Fire to increase. It is likely, a meteorologist said, that a Red Flag Warning will be issued for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kris Ankarlo, a reporter for KFIAM640, said fire authorities warned in a Monday afternoon press conference that foothill communities should plan for possible evacuation if the Santa Winds align with the foothill canyons and push the fire into the wildland-urban interface.

The blaze started with a rapid rate of spread on September 6 at 12:21 p.m. near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area in heavy fuels.

Monday morning the resources assigned included 5 engines, 3 hand crews, 4 helicopters, 5 fixed-wing aircraft, and 2 water tenders for a total of 101 personnel. For a wildfire in southern California with tremendous potential, these numbers are a very small fraction of what you would normally see on the second day, and speaks to the serious competition for resources needed to combat the fires in California.

Bobcat Fire
APPROXIMATE LOCATION of the Bobcat Fire. Looking west toward the Pacific Ocean 1:42 p.m. PDT September 7, 2020. Do not use to make evacuation or any other decisions. The map is based on heat detections from satellites.

Smoke in the area Monday afternoon likely made it difficult to operate firefighting aircraft, including air tankers and helicopters.

Bobcat Fire
The Bobcat Fire. Looking east from Mt. Wilson at 5:29 p.m. PDT September 7, 2020. The iconic observatories can be seen in the foreground.

In an action that has not occurred in recent memory, based on fire and weather conditions the U.S. Forest Service ordered the closure of seven National Forests in California: Angeles, San Bernardino, Cleveland, Los Padres, Inyo, Sequoia, Sierra, and Stanislaus.