#parent | #kids | Bobcat Fire California: Monrovia residents warned of potential evacuations as 8,553-acre brush fire rages in Angeles National Forest

AZUSA, Calif. (KABC) — With Southern California’s infamous Santa Ana winds in the forecast for Tuesday and a red flag warning issued through Wednesday, U.S. Forest Service fire officials have put some Monrovia residents on notice that they may be ordered to evacuate if the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest spreads south.The blaze has burned 8,553 acres at 0% containment after breaking out at 12:22 p.m. Sunday near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area of the forest. The U.S. Forest Service estimates the fire will not be fully contained until Oct. 15.

Bobcat Fire Evacuations

Evacuations were already ordered for residents and Angeles National Forest visitors from Big Santa Anita Canyon, Mt. Wilson, San Gabriel Canyon, and Monrovia Canyon.

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Efforts were underway to clear vegetation around the Bobcat Fire. But on Monday night, incident commanders issued a warning directing Monrovia residents in the foothill area below the Bobcat Fire to be prepared to evacuate due to rapid fire growth with a potential threat to life and/or property.

Monrovia city officials said the first phase of evacuations would affect all residents north of Hillcrest Bloulevard and north of Greystone Avenue. The second phase would impact all residents between Hillcrest Boulevard and Greystone Avenue south to Foothill Boulevard.

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Residents under the warning were urged to have evacuation plans in place, organize their emergency evacuation supplies and have essential evacuation personal belongings easily accessible. Vehicles should be fully fueled, facing out in their driveways and ready to take people and pets to designated evacuation sites, or to family and friends’ homes outside of the fire area.

At 7 a.m., the Monrovia Community Center will open as an information and cooling center. Information will also be provided over the phone at 626-256-8246.

Those with large animals were urged to begin moving them to safety as accommodations are made at the Pomona Fairgrounds and Santa Anita Racetrack with limited capacity.

California fire map

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Forest and road restrictions

The USFS announced the closure of several national forests, including the Angeles National Forest, due to ongoing fire danger across the state. The closure goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday and will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change, officials said.

Other forests ordered to close were the San Bernardino National Forest, Cleveland National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, Inyo National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, Sierra National Forest and the Stanislaus National Forest.

Restrictions were also imposed on national forest lands throughout the state that were not ordered to close.

U.S. Forest Service officials said all ignition sources, such as campfires and gas stoves, will be prohibited across national forest system lands in California.

Developed campgrounds and day-use sites in national forests throughout the state will also be closed until further notice.

Motorists were asked to avoid Highway 39 so it could be used exclusively for emergency vehicles. The highway was later closed at Old San Gabriel Canyon Road.

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Battling the blaze

The rugged terrain, access and triple-digit temperatures created difficult and dangerous conditions for firefighters. During a Monday afternoon press conference, officials expressed concern that winds in the coming days would change the direction of the flames, pushing them down the mountains toward foothill communities in the San Gabriel Valley.

If that happens, authorities said the communities that would impacted first would be Monrovia and Duarte. Bradbury, Azusa, Arcadia and Sierra Madre could also potentially see either evacuation warnings or orders.

“Directly coming into Monrovia or Duarte, no, that area has not burned in 50 to 100 years in some places, so the fuel-loading is high and there is not a natural break from the fuels from previous fires,” said incident commander Steve Goldman.

There are mandatory evacuations of residences on Angeles Crest Highway between Mount Wilson Road and Islip Saddle, officials said. All of Mount Wilson is also under mandatory evacuation orders. These areas include Redbox, Mount Wilson, Charlton Flats, Chilao campground and day use area, Buckhorn campground, Jarvi dayuse area, and Islip Saddle.

A temporary flight restriction was in place over the fire area, and a large plume of smoke could be seen throughout many parts of L.A. County.

Regulators issued a smoke advisory Monday, warning of unhealthy air quality in the San Gabriel Mountains, the east San Gabriel Valley and the Pomona-Walnut Valley.

“It is difficult to tell where smoke, ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of these particles in the air, so we ask everyone to remember that smoke and ash can be harmful to health, even for people who are healthy,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, health officer for Los Angeles County. “If you can see smoke, soot, or ash, or you can smell smoke, pay attention to your immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard your health. These precautions are particularly important for children, older adults, and people with heart or lung diseases.”

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

In L.A., several smaller fires broke out, including one in the Sepulveda Basin, which was contained to six acres. The El Dorado Fire near Yucaipa erupted Saturday and has scorched nearly 10,000 acres.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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