A wind-driven wildfire burning in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles once again threatened the Mount Wilson Observatory as officials warned that more than 1,000 homes are at risk due to the growing blaze.
Shifting winds on Monday brought the flames close to Mount Wilson, which overlooks greater Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains and has a historic observatory founded more than a century ago and numerous broadcast antennas serving Southern California.
The Mount Wilson Observatory shared timelapse footage showing flames illuminating the night on Monday.
The observatory described the nearby flames on Facebook as a “Hades-scape."
Officials said the fire remains active in the western, northern and southwestern portions.
They also warned that the flames would continue to spread from the Antelope Valley foothills into the communities of Juniper Hills, Valyermo, and Big Pine. A new round of mandatory evacuations were ordered on Monday.
Cheryl Poindexter lost her desert home.
“That fire came over the hill so hard and fast that I turned around and I barely got my eight dogs and my two parrots out,” Poindexter told KABC-TV. “You can see everything is ash.”
The fire has been fueled by vegetation that hadn't burned in decades and pushed by erratic winds over the weekend, although they had died down by Monday, and were expected to remain light through Tuesday.
About 1,100 homes and some 4,000 residents remained under evacuation orders as the fire was only 17% contained, fire officials said.
“We’ve got a fire here that is bigger than the city of Denver, and it did it in two weeks,” Sky Cornell with the Los Angeles County Fire Department told the Associated Press.
The blaze is one of more than two dozen major wildfires burning across California, including five of the largest in state history.
Cal Fire said Monday that more than 19,000 firefighters are battling blazes that have burned over 3 million acres in total.
More than 5,600 square miles have been charred, an area larger than the state of Connecticut, and at least 23,000 people remain evacuated statewide, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. A total of 26 people have also been killed.
Early estimates are that 6,400 buildings have been destroyed across the state, but Newsom said “by no stretch of the imagination do we think this tells the entire story.” Damage assessments are ongoing, he said.
Officials on Monday also identified the firefighter who died battling another Southern California wildfire that was sparked by a gender reveal party.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.