Parts of Angeles National Forest reopen as crews up Bobcat Fire containment to 90%

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A firefighter keeps lookout from a ridge as smoke drifts during the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 23, 2020 near Pasadena. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A firefighter keeps lookout from a ridge as smoke drifts during the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 23, 2020 near Pasadena. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

After a weekslong closure, much of the Angeles National Forest reopened Friday as crews brought containment of the Bobcat Fire up to 90% overnight, officials said.

Fire-scarred areas and trails will remain closed, including the Mount Wilson, Devil’s Punchbowl, Littlerock and Mount Waterman trails and surrounding areas, according to a U.S. Forest Service map.

Big Santa Anita Road is also closed, as well as a section of the Angeles Crest Highway from just east of Angeles Forest Highway to Vincent Gulch Road.

Areas that are open include Mount Baldy, Inspiration Point and Echo Mountain.

The Angeles National Forest and several other forests in California closed on Sept. 7 due to extreme heat and “unprecedented” dangerous fire conditions. The closure was then extended through Oct. 8 as the heat wave persisted and wildfires took a toll on the forests and stretched firefighting resources.

This map shows the closed areas in the Angeles National Forest as of Oct. 9, 2020. (U.S. Forest Service)
This map shows the closed areas in the Angeles National Forest as of Oct. 9, 2020. (U.S. Forest Service)

The Bobcat Fire started on Sept. 6 and has since burned 115,796 acres — or nearly 181 square miles — as flames spotted along long ranges, torched trees and advanced on homes in the Antelope Valley foothills, ripping a path of destruction along the way.

The blaze has destroyed at least 87 homes and another 83 structures, including a nature center at a popular geological attraction in Devil’s Punchbowl.

Firefighters will continue to mop up the fire area and build containment lines Friday, with flames burning only within its existing burn footprint, according to the federal InciWeb page.

Temperatures were expected to gradually cool, but forecasters anticipate a warm, dry and mostly sunny day.

The Angeles National Forest is in one of the driest, most fire-prone areas in the country.

The charred areas that will stay closed will undergo fire recovery and restoration efforts. There were already projects underway to restore and produce ecosystems in areas of the forest burned by the 2007 Ranch Fire and the 2008 Sayre Fire, according to Forest Service officials.

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