California Governor Gavin Newsom Declares State Of Emergency in Los Angeles County As Bobcat Fire Burns; Santa Anas, Triple-Digit Temperatures Loom

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday issued an emergency proclamation for the counties of Los Angeles, Del Norte and Mendocino to bolster the response to various fires which have burned thousands of acres, destroyed homes and caused the evacuation of residents.

In Los Angeles, the Bobcat Fire had burned close to 114,000 acres on Friday. The fire’s progress has slowed significantly in the past few days. Containment had increased from 15% on Wednesday to 55% on Friday. There are currently 1,575 personnel assigned to fire, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported. Full containment was not expected until Wednesday.

But triple digit temperatures and Santa Ana winds were forecast Sunday through Tuesday, with the possibility heat records could be broken. It is unclear if that has been factored into the Wednesday containment prediction.

From Friday’s National Weather Service’s Long Term L.A. Forecast:

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Mostly clear skies will continue across the region Tue thru Fri thanks to the offshore gradients. Temps will continue well above seasonal norms thru the period, with highs in the warmest vlys and lower mtns in the mid 90s to 102. Inland coastal areas including downtown L.A. will also be quite warm and in the low 90s at least for Tue and Wed. Overnight lows will remain warm in the foothills and lower mtns as well…The other weather factor next week will be the potential for large plume growth and rapid fire spread with any new or existing fires due to the weak instability and mixing heights above 10,000 ft each day.

“Crews will continue to prep and add additional depth to secure lines north of Mt. Wilson and in the Northeast between Highway 2 and Big Rock Creek,” according an InciWeb news statement. “These continued strategic firing operations are done to secure the fires perimeter from the fire making a run at the fire lines from unburned fuels within.

“Crew, engines, equipment and aircraft work in coordination to build holding lines, plumb the lines with water, and while firing aviation assets slow the movement of the main fire,” according to the statement. “West of [Mount] Waterman, firefighters will continue to focus on strengthening the lines, where the Mt. Wilson operation occurred. A focus of our efforts [Friday and Saturday] will be securing the west side of the fire before winds shift to the northeast Sunday.”

Flames have destroyed 52 structures and affected another 14, with three sustaining minor damage and one major damage, according to a damage assessment provided by Los Angeles County officials. That map, which is compiled from ongoing field damage inspection and subject to change, can be viewed here.

Of the 52 buildings destroyed, 27 were residential, one was commercial and 24 were described as “other.”

The fire has burned more acres than the Woolsey Fire of 2018, which scorched 96,271 acres, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Tuesday. It is the third-largest blaze ever recorded in the county. The Station Fire in 2009, which burned 160,577 acres, was the biggest.

The Governor also signed an executive order to streamline recovery efforts in communities across the state impacted by devastating fires. The order extends the state’s prohibition on price gouging in impacted counties through March 25, 2021; extends the deadline for impacted residents to file a claim for property tax postponement; and directs the Franchise Tax Board, Board of Equalization, Department of Tax and Fee Administration and the Office of Tax Appeals to provide extensions to impacted residents and businesses for filing, audits, billing, notices and assessments, among other provisions.

In addition, the order expedites debris removal and cleanup of hazardous waste resulting from the fires, and allows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide mutual aid supplementing the state’s efforts.

Evacuation warnings for Altadena and Pasadena issued on Sept. 8 were lifted on Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Repopulation orders went into effect at 2 p.m. Thursday for residents in the East Fork areas of Julius Klein Conservation Camp 19, Camp Williams and River Community, the sheriff’s department reported.

About 7 a.m. Thursday, evacuation warnings were changed to a “repopulation order” with “no restrictions” for the following areas:

Clear Areas: north of East Avenue W-14, south of Pearblossom
Highway, east of 155th Street East, west of 165th Street East;

Sand Areas: north of Big Pine Highway and Highway 2, south of 138th Street East, east of Largo Vista Road, west of 263rd Street. The southwestern region of the Sand Area may have power outages.

Ward Areas: north of Fort Tejon Road, south of East Avenue V, east of 87th Street East, west of 121st Street East.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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