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Containment On Bobcat Fire Climbs, 83 Homes Destroyed

MONVROVIA (CBSLA) – Containment numbers on the Bobcat Fire which has burned for more than three weeks in the Angeles National Forest jumped overnight, but crews will have to contend with another day of triple-digit temperatures Thursday.

The Bobcat Fire, one of the largest in Los Angeles County history, has scorched 114,901 acres and is 75% contained as of Thursday morning. The fire has destroyed at least 83 homes in the Antelope Valley foothills and damaged another 28, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Forest Service.

Bobcat Fire
Zenon Mayorga walks among bushes and Joshua tree covered in red fire retardant behind Alejandro Landa home in Juniper Hills on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 in Little Rock, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Another 79 structures have been destroyed and 19 damaged.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for Paradise Springs, Upper Big Tujunga Canyon and along the Angeles Crest Highway (State Route 2).

Just under 1,000 firefighters are still battling the blaze on the ground with the help of 14 water-dropping helicopters. A heat wave which has forced the state of California to implement a Flex Alert is expected to bring triple-digit temperatures to several parts of the Southland Thursday along with elevated fire danger.

The Bobcat Fire, one of the largest in L.A. County history, broke out a little after noon on Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and the West Fork Day Use area. The fire is churning through thick vegetation and dry brush in steep terrain, some of which has not burned in more 60 years.

It first threatened the San Gabriel foothill communities of Arcadia and Monrovia to the south, before turning its attention north to the Antelope Valley.

The fire also threatened the historic Mount Wilson Observatory for a period of several days, but crews were able to valiantly protect the structure.

Federal authorities are investigating whether a disturbance at a Southern California Edison substation may have sparked the fire. Last week, SoCal Edison revealed that federal investigators are looking into a disturbance at a nearby substation which occurred mere minutes before the fire was reported.

The initial report of fire was at 12:21 p.m. on Sept. 6. The utility says five minutes earlier, at 12:16 p.m., a circuit at the substation experienced a possible disturbance or event. Edison says cameras captured smoke developing in the area around 12:10 p.m., prior to the activity on Edison's circuit.

The Angeles National Forest is one of seven national forests in California that remains closed to the public because of the wildfires. The closure will last through at least Oct. 8. All 18 of California's national forests were closed for a significant portion of September, but several have since been reopened.

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