Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A new fast-moving wildfire in California has grown to more than 103,000 acres, making it one of the largest blazes in Los Angeles County's history.
The Bobcat fire, which ignited Sept. 6 in the Angeles National Forest, burned approximately 103,135 acres by Sunday night after being fanned by winds of up to 30 mph during a day of low humidity -- conditions that were to continue overnight and see the blaze grow into Monday morning.
The Angeles National Forest said in a statement that the fire was "threatening all of the values" on the peak of Mt. Wilson, home of the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains after firefighters battled to protect the iconic structure late last week.
The building had been declared safe on Friday after responders deployed strategic firing, said Sam Hale, chairman of the Mt. Wilson Board of Trustees.
"It was a real nail-biter right to the end," Hale said in a letter. "It looked dire."
To the northeast, the fire destroyed the Los Angeles County Parks' Nature Center in the geological wonder of the Devil's Punchbowl.
None of the park's animals or staff were injured, it said on Facebook, stating it will assess the extent of the damage when they may return.
The blaze, at only 15% contained, was spreading from the foothills into the communities of Juniper Hills, Valyermo and Big Pine, which are north of Los Angeles.
"It is actively flanking and backing against winds or slope and then running, torching, spotting and crowning when fuels, slope and topography align," it said, adding it has been feeding on chaparral, brush and tall grass.
The communities of Littlerock and Wrightwood "will be impacted soon," it said.
Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff, said he toured sites the fire had devoured on Sunday, including the ruins of a man's home in Juniper Hill.
"He showed me his property that he, unfortunately, lost to this wildfire & shared some wonderful memories with me," the sheriff said via Twitter. "Although his home is gone, his spirits were high."
Evacuations have been ordered for communities throughout the area while warnings have been made for the city of Pasadena and the communities of Altadena and Wrightwood, among others, the Angeles National Forest said.
More than 1,700 personnel were battling the blaze whose cause was still under investigation with an estimated contamination date by the Angeles National Forest of Oct. 30.
The fire has already grown to become one of the largest in Los Angeles County's history with the 2009 Station fire at some 160,000 acres claiming the title.
More than 7,900 wildfires have burned more than 3.5 million acres in California this fire season and since Aug. 15 they have killed at least 26 people and destroyed more than 6,100 structures, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Of the 31,000 wildland firefighters dispatched nationwide, 85% were deployed to the three West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington, the Bureau of Land Management said in a statement.
In Oregon, the Department of Forestry said it was monitoring 10 major fires in the state, a decrease from a high of 17, with the largest being the Lionshead fire, located some 20 miles west of Warm Springs, at nearly 200,000 acres.
It erupted Aug. 16 due to lighting and was only 10% contained by Sunday night, officials said.
"The Lionshead fire has heavily impacted several communities in the Santiam drainage and Breitenbush area, including the loss of 264 resident homes in Detroit, Ore.," officials said in a statement.
The National Interagency Fire Center said Sunday no new large fires were reported, with firefighters battling 22 large blazes in California, 14 in Idaho, 12 in Oregon, nine in Montana and eight in Washington.