The Bobcat Fire erupted on September 6, 2020, just a day after the El Dorado Fire near Yucaipa. All eyes were on El Dorado as it threatened the foothill communities in and near Oak Glen as it raced into the San Bernardino National Forest towards Forrest Falls and Big Bear beyond. Meanwhile, the Bobcat Fire burned on the other side of the San Gabriel Mountains, threatening the foothill communities in and around Arcadia, Sierra Madre, and Monrovia and on the other side burning into the Angeles National Forest, seemingly miles from Wrightwood and the High Desert floor.
As of September 15, the fire had burned 41,000 acres and was burning north near the Cedar Springs area. Still not on the radar of the Tri-Community. By September 17, the fire had burned and additional 20,000 acres in just three days. Now the fire encroaching on the footsteps of Devils Punchbowl and Juniper Hills areas. Evacuations orders went out for those areas. And warnings were Evacuation Warnings were issued for Pinon Hills and Wrightwood.
The six days between September 17 and September 22, the El Dorado Fire burned over 63,000 acres. It more than doubled in size, with a staggering 31,443 acres burned in one day on September 19. The fire pushed through Devils Punchbowl, through Juniper Hills, through Valyermo, Big Rock Springs, and Largo Vista as it made its way to the Mojave Desert floor in the Antelope Valley. Threatening Littlerock, Pearblossom, Lancaster, Llano, and was just about 5 miles west of Pinon Hills and about 6 miles west of Big Pines with Wrightwood just a few more miles beyond. The Bobcat Fire had burned 113,000 acres and was 39% contained.
Now almost fully contained, the Bobcat fire had burned from the San Gabriel Valley’s foothills through the Angeles National Forest and into the Mojave Desert in the Antelope Valley. The fire started near the Cogswell Reservoir. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, with some speculation that So. Cal. Edison equipment may have been involved. The Bobcat Fire burned through Devils Punchbowl, severely impacting the visitor’s center and the unique ecosystem of that area. However, St. Andrew’s Abby in Valyermo was spared. Mt. Wilson was also saved but was threatened for several days as crews and aircraft battled hard to keep the fire back.
Currently (October 4), the Bobcat Fire has burned 115,548 acres, is 84% contained, and resources continue to patrol and mop-up along containment lines and monitor hot spots within the fire boundaries. Over 6,000 structures were threatened, 28 residences damaged, 87 destroyed with 19 structures damaged, and 83 destroyed. However, assessment teams are continuing to gather data.