The Bobcat fire in California has grown to more than 103,000 acres, making it one of the largest blazes ever to strike Los Angeles County.
By Sunday, the fire was still threatening some desert communities, including the Mount Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The fire had even expanded to include a “fire-nado,” according to the New York Post. An onlooker recorded video of the fiery phenomenon blowing across the Big Pines Highway “throwing rocks and ash all around.”
This weekend, the flames moved into remote areas in the Antelope Valley. They destroyed houses and forced evacuations, the Times reported.
Angeles National Forest
On Monday, the fire was only 15% contained, according to Fox News. It started in the Angeles National Forest during Labor Day weekend.
The forest spans over 650,000 acres in the San Gabriel and Sierra Pelona Mountains. It is covered with dense chaparral and slopes full of pine and fir trees. The area’s terrain ranges from 1,200 to 10,064 feet in elevation.
Fox reported that firefighters have so far managed to protect Mount Wilson and its historic observatory as well as multiple broadcast antennas on the mountain. More than 19,000 firefighters are at work across California battling over two dozen wildfires.
The wildfires have scorched more than 5,468 square miles in California this year. Angeles National Forest in particular is located in one of the most at-risk areas of Southern California.
“The Angeles National Forest is located within one of the driest, most fire-prone areas in the United States,” the USDA Forest Service said on its website. “Human-caused wildland fires are becoming larger and more frequent[,] significantly damaging natural resources as well as the important human infrastructure on these invaluable public lands.”
The Forest Service has launched restoration efforts aimed at creating ecosystems that are able to adapt to those conditions. The efforts include vegetation restoration, sensitive wildlife species management and infrastructure improvements.