A wind-driven wildfire burning in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles has now burned over 100,000 acres as of Monday, as strong winds even whipped up a “smokenado”.
Bobcat Fire has been burning since Labor Day weekend and doubled in size last week, becoming one of Los Angeles County’s largest fires in history.
“We are still in the midst of a good firefight,” U.S. Forest Manager Andrew Mitchell told the Los Angeles Times.
HOME STRENGTHENED AFTER PUSH CALIFORNIA WINS FIRE IN THE DESERT
According to the US Forest Service, further evacuations were ordered in the Antelope Valley over the weekend when the flame spread. No injuries have been reported.
Southern winds that hit up to 30 km / h affected ridges, while in the canyon winds blew around 20 km / h at lower altitudes and helped spread the flames.
“With these weather conditions, the fire was very active,” the agency said.
Officials said Sunday night that fire activity north of Mount Wilson continued to shoot north toward Highway 2.
Firefighters have been able to defend Mount Wilson, which overlooks greater Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains and has a historic observatory founded more than a century ago and many broadcast antennas serving southern California.
The fire is 15% when teams try to determine the extent of the destruction in the area about 50 miles northeast of central LA. Thousands of residents at the foot of the Antelope Valley were ordered to evacuate the area Saturday as winds drove the flames into the Juniper Hills.
Roland Pagan saw his Juniper Hills house burning through binoculars as he stood on a nearby hill, according to the Los Angeles Times
“The intensity of this fire was shocking,” Pagan, 80, told the newspaper. “It burned my house alive in just 20 minutes.”
EXPERTS ARGUE LIGHTING STORMS, FOREST FELL HELPED FUEL DEADLY FOREST FIRE
Bobcat Fire is expected to continue to grow on Monday as critical fire conditions continued due to wind and low humidity.
The gusty winds whipped up a “smokenado” near the Big Pines as strong, irregular winds spread the fire, according to ABC7.
Smokenado resembled that of a dust devil. Dust devils are a small “rapidly rotating wind” that is made visible by dust, dirt or debris that it picks up, according to the NWS. They are usually harmless and weaker than tornadoes.
In addition to the 103,000 acres burned by the fire, the Bobcat Fire destroyed the nature center at Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area, a geological wonder that attracts approximately 130,000 visitors a year.
Across California, nearly 19,000 firefighters continue to fight more than two dozen wildfires.
More than 7,900 wildfires have burned more than 5,468 square miles in California this year, including many since a mid-August barrage of dry lightning ignited dehydrated vegetation.
A firefighter died last week in line with another fire in Southern California that was triggered by a sexist party.
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A statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said it was the 26th death from forest fires that besieged the state.
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Other flames continue to burn the western world as temperatures above normal temperatures return and windy winds cause concern for parts of the Great Basin.
In Wyoming, a rapidly growing wildfire in the southeastern part of the state closed a reservoir that is an important water source for the capital Cheyenne.
Fox News’ Janice Dean and the Associated Press contributed to this report.