Firefighters battling the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest made significant progress in just 24 hours, more than doubling containment of the blaze from 17% on Tuesday to 38% reported on Wednesday morning.
“Today we had a pretty successful day getting a lot of direct containment line on the fires’ edge as well as getting indirect lines in,” Kerri Gilliland, a planning operations trainee for California Incident Management, said in a Tuesday evening update.
In an update on its Twitter page, the Angeles National Forest said crews turned a corner Tuesday night “thanks to the strenuous fireline construction by firefighters working in challenging conditions. Night crews completed a critical strategic firing to link containment from Mt. Wilson to Angeles Crest Highway.”
Crews benefited from additional resources, cooler weather, humidity and transition into lighter fuels in the north. The anticipated containment date that was previously Oct. 30 has been updated to Sept. 30.
Firefighters will continue to take advantage of the favorable climate because temperatures are expected to go up this weekend.
“The biggest thing it comes down to is good old hard work,” Public Information Officer Larry Smith said on Wednesday. “The next project is to continue to contain the areas of Juniper Hills, Valyermo and Big Pine. We are looking at reinforcing and mopping up in those areas that have been contained. We are expecting a change in the weather as we approach the weekend, so we’re really pushing to get as much done as we can.”
La Cañada Flintridge was not under any warnings as of Wednesday morning but city officials still advised residents to prepare and plan for any possible evacuations. On Tuesday, Smith said there are no certainties when dealing with a fire but that it is moving away from the city. Gilliland confirmed in her Wednesday morning update that fire spread and activity in the southern region was limited.
“We’re very positive,” added Smith, who also urged locals to not use any recreational drones in the area after one of the aircraft used to battle the fire was grounded due to a drone incursion on Monday. “It is currently moving in a north, northwest direction. Once again, that’s going to be very much influenced by wind and terrain. The consistent trend is north, away from La Cañada and La Crescenta.”
A light amount of smoke from the Bobcat Fire affected La Cañada Flintridge on Wednesday but the South Coast Air Quality Management District predicted that winds will move the smoke “northeast and east into the mountains of Los Angeles and then out of the South Coast Air Basin.” However, health officials still advised sensitive individuals living or working in the West San Gabriel Valley to minimize outdoor activities.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than 1,500 personnel are battling what is now one of the biggest fires in Los Angeles County history with approximately 113,307 acres burned as of Wednesday morning. The large blaze, which has reportedly destroyed 29 structures as of Tuesday, spread quickly after being ignited Sept. 6. Conditions and terrain made it difficult for crews to contain it and they only had 3% of the fire contained on Thursday, Sept. 17.