WILDFIRES

California Wildfire Likely To Grow From Wind, Low Humidity

Sep 20, 2020, 8:49 PM
A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop as the Bobcat Fire continues to burn on September 19, ...
A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop as the Bobcat Fire continues to burn on September 19, 2020 near Valyermo, California. The Bobcat Fire has now scorched more than 91,000 acres and destroyed homes. California's national forests remain closed due to wildfires which have burned a record 3.4 million acres this year. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The destruction wrought by a wind-driven wildfire in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles approached 156 square miles (404 square kilometers) Sunday, burning structures, homes and a nature center in a famed Southern California wildlife sanctuary in foothill desert communities.

The blaze, known as the Bobcat Fire, is expected to grow through Sunday and Monday as critical fire weather conditions continued due to gusty wind and low humidity. Additional evacuation warnings were issued Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters were, however, able to defend Mount Wilson this weekend, which overlooks greater Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains and has a historic observatory founded more than a century ago and numerous broadcast antennas serving Southern California.

The Bobcat Fire started Sept. 6 and has already doubled in size over the last week — becoming one of Los Angeles County’s largest wildfires in history, according to the Los Angeles Times. No injuries have been reported.

The blaze is 15% contained as teams attempt to determine the scope of the destruction in the area about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of downtown LA. Thousands of residents in the foothill communities of the Antelope Valley were ordered to evacuate Saturday as winds pushed the flames into Juniper Hills.

Roland Pagan watched his Juniper Hills house burn through binoculars as he stood on a nearby hill, according to the Los Angeles Times .

“The ferocity of this fire was shocking,” Pagan, 80, told the newspaper. “It burned my house alive in just 20 minutes.”

Resident Perry Chamberlain evacuated initially but returned to extinguish a fire inside his storage container, according to the Southern California News Group, and ended up helping others put out a small fire in their horse stall.

Chamberlain said Juniper Hills had been like a majestic “sylvan forest” but the fire burned the Juniper and sage brush and a variety of trees.

“It used to be Juniper Hills,” he said. “Now it’s just Hills.”

The wildfire also destroyed the nature center at Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area, a geological wonder that attracts some 130,000 visitors per year.

Though the Bobcat Fire neared the high desert community of Valyermo, a Benedictine monastery there appeared to have escaped major damage, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Statewide, nearly 19,000 firefighters continue to fight more than two dozen major wildfires. More than 7,900 wildfires have burned more than 5,468 square miles (14,164 square kilometers) in California this year, including many since a mid-August barrage of dry lightning ignited parched vegetation.

Meanwhile, officials were investigating the death of a firefighter on the lines of another Southern California wildfire that erupted earlier this month from a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used by a couple to reveal their baby’s gender.

The death occurred Thursday in San Bernardino National Forest as crews battled the El Dorado Fire about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement.

The name of the firefighter killed has not yet been released. A statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said it was the 26th death involving wildfires besieging the state.

Authorities also have not released the identities of the couple, who could face criminal charges and be held liable for the cost of fighting the fire.

In Wyoming, a rapidly growing wildfire in the southeastern part of the state was closing in on a reservoir that’s a major source of water for the capital city, Cheyenne.

The water system remained safe and able to filter out ash and other burned material that flows through streams and reservoirs after wildfires, said Clint Bassett, water treatment manager for the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities.


Associated Press Writer Mead Gruver in Fort Collins, Colorado, contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Wildfires

(Karah Brackin/KSL TV)...
Jed Boal & Karah Brackin, KSL TV

Gov. Cox, officials ask all to prevent wildfires during holiday fireworks season

Gov. Spencer Cox, state leaders and local officials are asking everyone to celebrate responsibly and help prevent human-caused wildfires this holiday fireworks season and beyond.
9 days ago
(Kane County Utah Sheriff's Office)...
Madison Swenson, KSL TV

Evacuations ordered due to Left Fork Fire in southern Utah

The Bryce Woodlands Estates have been ordered to evacuate due to the Left Fork Fire burning in Kane County.
11 days ago
Daniel Encinias stands next to the ruins of his home, which was destroyed by the Hermits Peak/Calf ...
Jennifer Henderson and Ella Nilsen, CNN

US Forest Service admits errors in routine prescribed burn that sparked largest fire in NM history

A Chief's Review of New Mexico's Hermits Peak Fire released Tuesday found that U.S. Forest Service errors during a routine prescribed burn contributed to the largest wildfire in New Mexico history.
11 days ago
Firefighter watching for any embers across the line during a tactical firing operation at night on ...
AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

Biden signs off on hefty pay raise for federal firefighters

President Joe Biden has signed off on giving federal wildland firefighters a hefty raise for the next two fiscal years.
11 days ago
...
Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

SLC Fire transitions to wildfire response preparedness for summer season

Salt Lake City firefighters are gearing up for what could be a dangerous holiday fire season, after getting a taste Sunday when a wildland fire blew up to 200 acres south of Interstate 80. 
12 days ago
New power poles have been put in place along SR-201 after two wildfires sparked on Friday, damaging...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Fire damages power structures, threatens state park and marina

Two fires that burned Friday near the Great Salt Lake — along state Route 201 and Interstate 80 — are now contained. But Rocky Mountain Power is still working to repair equipment damaged by the flames.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
California Wildfire Likely To Grow From Wind, Low Humidity