Crews Prevent fire damage to famed observatory

Katie Ramirez
September 18, 2020

"Do not wait until it is too late", warned officials. "If your family must split up, determine a designated meeting place to account for every member".

The Bobcat Fire, one of several wildfires now burning in CALIFORNIA, was only 3% contained as of WEDNESDAY morning, with over 44,000 acres burned.

The north side of the fire in Cooper Canyon is continuing into the Pleasant View Wilderness. "Crews are constructing handline and dozerline where possible to stop the downhill progression", InciWeb said, adding that helicopters are being used to support the ground forces as air conditions allow.

The facility was almost engulfed in flames in 2009 by a much larger blaze called the Station Fire but was spared after a pitched battle waged by firefighters to spare the site.

All personnel from the observatory were evacuated due to the wildfire.

The Forest Service expects the fires to intensify in the following days, he said.

Authorities said a smoke advisory will remain in effect through Tuesday due to the Bobcat Fire and the El Dorado Fire, another major wildfire in Southern California.

A map updated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) showed air quality in the region during this weekend is expected to range from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children, elderly, and people with respiratory or heart disease.

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"Based on past fire events in the area, we do not anticipate air quality issues to affect our animals", according to a Twitter post from the zoo.

Intense smoke from the wildfires has even reached the East Coast and Europe, according to the National Weather Service.

With lights and sirens on, two squads of Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies rolled out Thursday afternoon to assist in the fast-growing Bobcat Fire that prompted new evacuations in the Antelope Valley.

On Tuesday, Southern California Edison notified state regulators that one of its high-voltage substations experienced a tripped circuit just minutes after smoke from the blaze was first observed near a large dam and reservoir.

By early Wednesday, the blaze had burned more than 69 square miles (180 square kilometers) and was largely uncontained, but the flames were calmer.

More than 16,600 firefighters are battling over two dozen major California wildfires, while other crews work to beat back flames in OR and Washington state.

The federal, state and local resources assigned to active wildfires include more than 2,200 fire engines, 388 water tenders, 304 bulldozers and 104 aircraft, according to Cal Fire.

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