With Santa Ana winds expected late Sunday night, firefighters continued working to contain the 178-square mile Bobcat Fire as they braced for the drier, warmer conditions expected later.
The wildfire has torn through the Angeles National Forest after erupting near Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area on Sept. 6 and quickly spreading into surrounding areas.
By Sunday morning, fire officials said the blaze was at 65% containment, slightly inching up from 63% the night before. Evacuations in many communities remain in place as more than 1,300 firefighting personnel continue working to strengthen containment lines.
But strong winds accompanied by increased temperatures and relatively low humidity are expected late Sunday night and Monday morning — weather conditions creating new risks that could complicate firefighting efforts.
On Monday, a Red Flag Warning will take effect in the region from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. as fire-prone weather conditions worsen. Winds gusting around 25 to 35 mph are expected over the Bobcat Fire along with humidity levels lowering to 10 to 15%, according to the National Weather Service.
Beyond the drier, windier weathers, forecasters are also predicting a significant heat wave with temperatures in the upper 90s and as high as 105 degrees expected in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
A predicted change in wind direction could also potentially complicate firefighting efforts, according to the federal forest officials.
On Sunday morning, officials said the wildfire was actively still burning in the Mt. Lewis area, and firefighters were working to stop the forward spread of flames in the area.
Meanwhile, the blaze has calmed from Pinion Ridge to Door Canyon, officials said. Firefighters in those areas are mostly mopping up any leftover sources of fire, with flames mostly put out.
Evacuation orders remain in place in the following areas:
- Paradise Springs — south of Big Pines Highway, east of Devil’s Punchbowl, west of Largo Vista Road and north of Angeles National Forest
- South and west of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon, east of Angeles Forest Highway and north of Angeles Crest Highway
- Homes along Angeles Crest Highway, between Angeles Forest Highway and Highway 39
Evacuation warnings remain in these areas:
- South of Big Pines Highway, east of Largo Vista Road, west of 263rd Street East (County line) and north of the forest
- South of Mount Emma Road, north of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon, east of Angeles Forest Highway and west of Pacifico Mountain
- East Fork areas: Julius Klein Conservation Camp 19, Camp Williams and the River Community
- Unincorporated community of Wrightwood
Authorities previously lifted evacuation orders for the Littlerock community in the Antelope Valley, including these specific areas:
- South of Highway 138, north of Weber Ranch Road, east of Cheseboro Road and west of 87th Street East
- South of Highway 138, south and east of Highway 122 (Sierra Highway/ Pearblossom), north and west of Mt. Emma Road, west of Cheseboro Road, north and east of Angeles Forest Highway
Evacuation centers previously opened up by Red Cross at Palmdale High School and Santa Anita Park have been shut down. Anyone needing assistance can call the Disaster Distress Hotline at 800-675-5799.