Bobcat Fire update: California blaze spares Mount Wilson Observatory as evacuation orders remain for Arcadia, Sierra Madre


ARCADIA, Calif. (KABC) — Firefighters continue protecting the Mount Wilson Observatory from the Bobcat Fire burning above San Gabriel Valley foothill communities as new evacuation warnings were issued Wednesday evening.

The L.A. County Fire Department Wednesday evening said an evacuation warning was issued for residents in the community of Juniper Hills, south of Fort Trejon Road and east of 96th Street, east and south of Valyermo Road and west of Bob’s Gap Road. Residents are advised to pack and prepare to evacuate.

The blaze on Tuesday threatened the famed observatory, coming within 500 feet of it as firefighters worked to protect the landmark and an estimated $1 billion worth of transmission towers serving TV, radio and government agencies.

Crews set off back fires near the observatory, and created barriers using hand crews and dozer lines to prevent flames from reaching the area.

Approximately 46,263 acres have been charred and containment is at 3% as of Wednesday evening. Containment was at 6%, but flare-ups on Monday caused crews to lose ground.

RELATED: Bobcat Fire: Flames edge closer to Mount Wilson, a landmark of modern technology

Evacuation order for Arcadia residents north of Elkins Avenue and east of Santa Anita Avenue, as well as for parts of Sierra Madre were lifted Wednesday evening.

The Arcadia Fire Department said 267 homes had been evacuated but no homes have been damaged by the fire. Multiple strike teams were in the north end of the city as “moderate fire activity” remained behind Wilderness Park and adjacent to homes.

In Sierra Madre, police said a total of 32 homes were affected by the evacuation order. An evacuation center has been set up at Santa Anita Track at 285 West Huntington Drive. Residents should enter through Gate 5.

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Evacuation warnings remained in place in Pasadena, Altadena, Monrovia, Bradbury, Sierra Madre and Duarte.

Evacuation orders were lifted for the East Fork area, including the Camp Williams resort in Azusa, the River Community Center and Fire Camp 19, officials said.

There were intense moments from Tuesday’s fire fight as a 500- to 1,000-acre spot fire crossed Highway 2, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Meanwhile, smoky haze continue to blanket the foothill communities and much of Southern California.

A big portion of the fire is burning deep into the Angeles National Forest, up to Highway 2 to the north and Highway 39 to the east.

The abnormally dry vegetation has been fueling the blaze, leading to extreme fire behavior and rapid rates of spread. The U.S. Forest Service initially estimated for full containment on Oct. 15, but that has been pushed back to Oct. 30.

The cause of the fire, which erupted Sept. 6, is under investigation.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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