What to Know
- The Bobcat Fire was estimated at nearly 114,000 acres with containment at 50 percent early Thursday.
- The fire started Sept. 6 in the mountains overlooking the San Gabriel Valley.
- Flames spread to the north, now threatening Antelope Valley foothill communities.
Containment of the Bobcat Fire in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles expanded to 50% Thursday morning, marking progress for firefighters who have been battling the fire for nearly three weeks.
Unhealthy smoke continues to billow from the nearly 114,000-acre fire burning primarily in the northern Angeles National Forest. The fire started Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area northeast of Mount Wilson before burning toward the Antelope Valley.
“Fire activity has moderated, and only 253 acres were added overnight,” Angeles National Forest officials said Thursday.
Reduced winds, lower temperatures and higher humidity limited fire activity Tuesday, but Wednesday brought warmer and drier conditions, which were expected to continue Thursday, with southwesterly and up-canyon winds.
Firefighters earlier this week successfully set backfires, including from the air, to destroy vegetation fueling the blaze and protect the Mount Wilson Observatory and several broadcast and telecommunications towers. Similar tactics were planned for Thursday.
The cause has not been determined, but U.S. Forest Service officials are investigating an equipment issue involving Southern California Edison that happened around the time the fire broke out.
“While USFS has not alleged that SCE facilities were involved in the ignition of the Bobcat Fire, SCE submits this report in an abundance of caution given USFS’s interest in retaining SCE facilities in connection with its investigation,” the utility said.
The Angeles National Forest will be closed through Oct. 1, the U.S. Forest Service said.
Flames have destroyed 52 structures and affected another 14, with three sustaining minor damage and one suffering major damage, according to a damage assessment provided by Los Angeles County officials. That map, which is compiled from ongoing field damage inspection and subject to change, can be viewed here.
Evacuation orders remain in effect for several foothills communities.
The fire has burned more acres than the Woolsey Fire of 2018, which scorched 96,271 acres, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Tuesday. The Station Fire in 2009 burned 160,577 acres.