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Bobcat Fire Explodes to Nearly 24,000 Acres With 0% Containment

The Bobcat Fire burns above Monrovia, California, September 8, 2018. | Photo by Kyle Grillot for The Washington Post via Getty Images

MONROVIA (CNS) - The Bobcat Fire burning in the Angeles National Forest had blackened 23,890 acres as of this morning and was 0% contained, with seven San Gabriel Valley foothill communities remaining under an evacuation warning.

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that the fire — which broke out at midday Sunday near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area — will not be contained until Oct. 15.

On Thursday morning, the fire was moving in a northeasterly direction, and more than 530 firefighters were working to extinguish the flames, according to the Forest Service. No structural damage or injuries have been reported.

On Wednesday, the USFS reported that offshore winds pushed the fire east and across Highway 39. 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 previously applied fire lines. Several more resources arrived at the fire late (Wednesday), including a sky crane helicopter and two more hotshot crews,” the Forest Service reported.

Although a Red Flag Warning for the area is no longer in effect, winds were expected to blow about 5-15 mph on Thursday, with gusts up to 25 mph, and officials were concerned that the winds could shift in direction, pushing the fire toward the foothill communities.

“Priority is to contain the south end of the fire in anticipation of Santa Ana winds,” the Forest Service reported.

Evacuation warnings remain in effect in the foothill communities of Duarte, Bradbury, Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Pasadena, Altadena and Arcadia.

A “voluntary evacuation suggestion” by the city of Arcadia for residents north of Foothill Boulevard and east of Santa Anita Avenue was lifted about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday by city officials, who said the fire had “generally progressed away from” Arcadia.

Evacuations were previously ordered for residents and Angeles National Forest visitors from Big Santa Anita Canyon, Mt. Wilson, San Gabriel Canyon and Monrovia Canyon, but by Wednesday evening no evacuation orders were in effect, according to the Forest Service.

A smoke advisory was extended to Thursday afternoon for most of Los Angeles County and parts of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The South Coast Air Quality Management District warned of unhealthy air quality in the San Gabriel Mountains, the east San Gabriel Valley and Pomona-Walnut Valley.

The American Red Cross established a temporary evacuation point Tuesday at Santa Anita Park for anyone affected by the fire.

Shelter for large animals was available at Fairplex in Pomona and Santa Anita Park. Anyone needing to board their horses at Fairplex should call Fairplex Security at 909-865-4600. Trailers should enter the grounds at Gate 12 at 2201 White Ave., Fairplex director of communications Renee Hernandez said.

Owners will need to provide food, water and bedding for horses and must adhere to social distancing protocols and wear masks. Fairplex has enough stables to board 300 horses, and stables are spaced to assist with social distancing, Hernandez said.

The Angeles National Forest, along with all 18 national forests in California, will be closed until further notice, the U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday.

“The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously,” Randy Moore, regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region, said Monday. “Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire.”

The Glendale (2) Freeway was closed from 10.6 miles east of La Canada- Flintridge to Islip Saddle. Highway 39 was closed at Canyon Entrance Station.

Top Image: The Bobcat Fire burns above Monrovia, California, September 8, 2018. | Photo by Kyle Grillot for The Washington Post via Getty Images

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