Bobcat Fire containment rises to 63% as crews brace for Santa Ana winds

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Containment of the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest rose to 63% Saturday evening as residents began to return to their homes after more evacuation orders were lifted.

The blaze had charred about 114,082 acres — or 178 square miles — by Saturday morning, with continued efforts to secure the west side of the fire prior to a forecasted wind shift to the northeast on Sunday, according to the federal InciWeb page.

Warm and dry conditions were expected to return over the weekend, with a moderate Santa Ana wind event forecast for Monday into Tuesday. “Abnormally high” temperatures and very low humidity are also expected to lead to near critical fire weather conditions early next week, according to Angeles National Forest officials.

Crews were continuing to work on the northeastern corner of the blaze near Dorr Canyon and Big Rock Creek Road, where the fire had reached the creek bottom. A total of 1,554 firefighters were at the scene.

Evacuation orders for Antelope Valley areas were lifted Friday and modified to warnings, allowing some residents to return home. But they should expect to continue seeing smoke, fire officials said.

Since sparking on Sept. 6 in the Azusa area of the Angeles National Forest, the massive blaze came dangerously close to the Mount Wilson Observatory and threatened homes in the Antelope Valley.

Earlier this week, officials estimated that at least 52 structures were destroyed in the fire, including homes in the Juniper Hills area.

Evacuation orders:

•  Paradise Springs- South of Big Pines Highway, east of Devil’s Punchbowl, west of largo Vista Road, and north of the forest.
•  South and west of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon, east of Angeles forest Highway, and north of Angeles Crest Highway
•  Residences along Angeles Crest Highway, between Angeles forest Highway and Highway 39.

Evacuation warnings:

•  South of Big Pines Highway, east of largo Vista Road, west of 263rd Street E (County line), and north of the forest.
•  South of Mount Emma Road, nonh of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon. east of Angeles Forest Highway, and west of Pacifico Mountain. East Fork Areas: Julius Klein Conservation camp 19, Camp Williams, and the River Community.
•  Unincorporated community of Wrightwood.

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