BREAKING NEWS A person has been injured after a car crash and vegetation fire above Stirling City Full Story

Wildfire comes within 500 feet of famed California observatory where Hubble explored the universe

Flames from a wildfire in the Angeles National Forest outside of Los Angeles came within 500 feet of the Mount Wilson Observatory, the historic astronomic vi...

Posted: Sep 16, 2020 3:59 PM

Flames from a wildfire in the Angeles National Forest outside of Los Angeles came within 500 feet of the Mount Wilson Observatory, the historic astronomic viewpoint where Edwin Hubble explored the universe.

Firefighters were in place to defend the structure from the flames, the U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday.

"The Bobcat Fire is within 500 ft of the Mt. Wilson Observatory & crews are in place ready to receive the fire," forest officials said in a tweet Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. local time. "Strategic firing is taking place in the south where air operations are strengthening dozerlines."

Creating "dozerlines" is a firefighting technique in which bulldozers remove plants and other flammable material to leave a line of bare soil and stop the fire from spreading.

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

"The Bobcat Fire is knocking on our door," the observatory said in a tweet Monday night. "Fire officials predicted that the fire would approach Mt. Wilson from Echo Rock. It looks like they are correct."

By Tuesday night, the Angeles National Forest praised the firefighters' work around the mountain. Firefighters installed hand and dozer lines and dropped water on the fire, "creating a strong protection point for Mt. Wilson," the national forest said.

"Yesterday firefighters were successful in keeping the fire from impacting Mt. Wilson Observatory," officials said in a report Wednesday morning.

Founded by astronomer George Ellery Hale in 1904, the Mount Wilson Observatory once boasted the world's largest telescope, the 100-inch Hooker Telescope.

Edwin Hubble worked at the observatory for more than three decades and used the telescope to prove the existence of other galaxies outside the Milky Way. He also discovered that galaxies are moving away from the earth at a predictable rate, now known as Hubble's Law, which is one of the underpinnings of the Big Bang theory.

The Bobcat Fire, which is burning in the mountains above the suburban L.A. communities of Arcadia, Sierra Madre, and Monrovia, has grown to more than 44,000 acres and is just 3% contained, forest officials said.

The growth of the fire Monday outpaced containment efforts and resulted in containment falling from 6% to 3%. More than 1,100 personnel are battling the blaze as of Wednesday morning.

"We've got a lot of dirty brush and dirty growth, lattered and layered, so it burns deep in there and climbs through the trees and down the hills," Los Angeles County Fire Captain David Gillotte told CNN's Kyung Lah on Tuesday. "Luckily we don't have any wind driving it now."

All 18 national forests in California, including the Angeles National Forest, are closed due to the extreme wildfire threat across the region.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 803660

Reported Deaths: 15516
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2657756488
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino53669922
Orange529041204
San Diego46001775
Kern31785361
Fresno28106382
Sacramento22026402
Alameda21028404
Santa Clara20882306
San Joaquin20194441
Stanislaus16452348
Contra Costa16327204
Tulare15897259
Ventura12617147
Imperial11781317
San Francisco1103899
San Mateo9785150
Monterey977270
Santa Barbara9003113
Merced8846140
Kings763177
Sonoma7320120
Marin6672117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer354244
San Luis Obispo351029
Butte280343
Yolo278955
Santa Cruz23199
Sutter169611
Napa166113
San Benito133111
Yuba11437
El Dorado10984
Mendocino89918
Shasta77717
Lassen7370
Glenn5743
Tehama5404
Lake53411
Nevada5317
Colusa5276
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Broken Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 90°
Oroville
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 91°
Paradise
Broken Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 90°
Chester
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 69°
Red Bluff
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
Willows
Broken Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 90°
A RED FLAG WARNING will be in place Saturday night through Monday evening due to strong winds and dry weather predicted.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events