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Firefighters reach 25 percent containment on Mount Wilson fire

A fire retardant drop on the Wilson Fire on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.
A fire retardant drop on the Wilson Fire on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.
Angeles National Forest
A fire retardant drop on the Wilson Fire on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.
County officials say no structures are immediately threatened by a brush fire that broke out before dawn Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, on steep hillsides near the historic observatory on Mt. Wilson above Los Angeles.
Screenshot from NBC4
A fire retardant drop on the Wilson Fire on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.
Screenshot from NBC4 live video
A fire retardant drop on the Wilson Fire on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.
Screenshot from NBC4 live video


Crews with air support raced to protect a historic observatory and communications towers from a growing brush fire on Mount Wilson northeast of Los Angeles early Tuesday, but firefighters began to get a handle on the fire later in the day, reaching 25 percent containment by Tuesday evening.

https://twitter.com/Angeles_NF/status/920688805585207299

Chantry Flat and the surrounding recreational cabin area were evacuated and closed to the public Tuesday morning. Approximately 300 firefighters were working to contain the blaze, which grew to 50 acres Wednesday morning.

Angeles National Forest public affairs officer Punky Moore told KPCC Wednesday that the fire is one mile southwest of the observatory, and no homes are currently threatened. 

Fire retardant drop video

Robert Diaz of the Los Angeles County Fire Department says flames that broke out just before 4 a.m. Tuesday were threatening the observatory near the 5,710 foot peak. Officials say the observatory was evacuated and the fire wasn't burning near foothill homes.

The Angeles National Forest completed 15 acres of hazardous fuels reduction last spring near the observatory, which they say helped slow the spread and intensity of the fire.

Moore said four air tankers and seven helicopters were deployed in addition to the firefighters. In addition to the recreation area closures, Mount Wilson road off of Highway 2 is also closed. 

Wilson Fire
Wilson Fire
Screenshot from NBC4 live video

Firefighters getting help from water-dropping aircraft were also aided by light morning winds. The glow of flames was seen across parts of Los Angeles and surrounding valleys. 

The blaze was initially estimated at around 5 acres, but it steadily expanded as flames chewed through dry brush.

The National Forest wrote on their Twitter account that firefighters were working to protect more than $500 million in infrastructure assets. Mount Wilson houses critical broadcast and communications antennas for the region.

Tom Rolinski, senior meteorologist with the U.S. Forest Service, told KPCC that Tuesday's weather conditions weren't "critical fire weather conditions," but that the region was still experiencing elevated fire conditions, including high temperatures and low humidity.

This story has been updated.