Near Record Heat, Winds On The Way For L.A. As Bobcat Fire Rages On
Tuesday marked the first day of fall and also the official start of fire season in Los Angeles. But while fall seems far way, fire season is already well underway.
As of 8 p.m., the Bobcat Fire had scorched over 112,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest and was just 17% contained. That containment number has barely moved over the past week as the fire moved into the communities of Cima Mesa, Juniper Hills, Pearblossom and Devil’s Punchbowl in the Antelope Valley and San Gabriel Valley foothills. It has destroyed or damaged 29 structures, with authorities fearing the number could rise to 85. The blaze is already the third-largest ever recorded in Los Angeles.
Cal Fire’s forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday is for “warmer and drier” conditions through Friday. “On Saturday,” said the most recent report, “a significant warming and drying trend will begin, with the possibility of gusty northeast winds.” That could mean Santa Anas.
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Another warm-up is expected this weekend into early next week as a strong upper ridge builds into the region. There is the potential for a late season heat event early next week, with weak offshore — Santa Ana — flow over the mountains. Early estimates show valley highs in the lower 100s for Monday and Tuesday.
The National Weather Service says that Sunday is the anniversary of the all-time Downtown L.A. high of 113. While that mark is unlikely to be broken, the all-time high for Monday is only a few degrees lower so Tuesday, which promises to be warmer, could potentially see record highs.
That is not good news for firefighters or for residents whose homes abut the current fire boundaries. The Bobcat Fire is not projected to be out until October 30. Given that, and the remarkable heat expected in the coming days, significant fire growth is likely.
Until then, fire crews are seeking to prepare. The Mt. Wilson Observatory, which has been threatened twice in the past week, will be the scene of backfires throughout the night as crews seek to cement their gains.
That area is home not only one of the crown jewels of astronomy, but also to infrastructure that transmits cellphone and television signals and radio broadcasts for the greater Los Angeles Area.
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