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Southern California wildfire update:
Fire officials announced yesterday that the Station fire, currently burning in Angeles National Forest, claimed the lives of two firefighters Sunday afternoon. The deaths occurred when the firemen's vehicle ran off the edge of a mountain road while they were working to control the intense flames near Mt Gleason. Deputy Fire Chief Mike Bryant made the announcement after the families were notified.
- View the latest photo updates of firefighters pitted against the Oak Glen and Pendleton fire
These were the first two deaths caused by the fire; several civilians were previously injured after failing to evacuate from their homes near the fire.
Meanwhile, the fire continued to rage through Sunday night and Monday morning consuming more than 85,000 acres of land. With only 5% containment, the fire is expected to continue growing in all directions. Estimates for full containment have now been pushed back to September 15th.
By Monday morning, the flames reached within 1/4 mile of Mt Wilson. Firefighters have struggled to clear enough brush to protect the historic observatory as well as the surrounding communications towers which broadcast television and radio throughout the Los Angeles area. With limited escape routes on the mountain though, it's unclear if firefighters will be able to maintain the fight before flames overrun the area,which could damage the observatory's world class equipment and disrupt TV and radio broadcasts.
Air operations increased in an effort to slow the fire's surge towards the town of Acton, which sits just north of the Angeles National Forest. Evacuation orders were issued for parts of the Acton area, most notably around Soledad Canyon Road. Currently dozens of aircrews are working to fight the fire from the skies along with over 2,500 other personnel.
To date, the fire's massive destruction has not only threatened and destroyed the homes of many nearby residents, but it has also wiped out large swaths of wildlife habitat. Animals could be seen fleeing the fire's path, but the destruction of local habitat will be irreplaceable for years to come.
While the Station fire rages in the Angeles National Forest, a second fire erupted in the San Bernadino National Forest. Dubbed the Oak Glen fire, the blaze started Sunday afternoon and quickly expanded to burn close to 1,000 acres by Monday morning. Starting in the hills just south of Oak Glen Road, the fire's potential to expand even more is great given the terrain and continued hot weather across Southern California.
With high temperatures forecast throughout much of today, fire officials are hoping to receive some relief from mother nature when temperatures are expected to dip in the upcoming week.
View Station Fire and Oak Glen Fire in a larger map