Fire officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for residents of the 10,000 homes under threat. The city of Los Angeles today issued a mandatory evacuation order for an area of Sunland-Tujunga bordering the Angeles National Forest from roughly Alpine Way on the north to Haines Canyon Avenue on the east.
According to one fire spokesman, The Station Fire had increased to 85,576 acres as of Monday morning. The blaze is only 5 percent contained while being fueled by dry air and protected by the steep terrain in and around the Angeles National Forest.
Officials are keeping a close eye on the blaze, which is being aided by warm temperatures and low humidity, as it creeps closer to the Mount Wilson Observatory. The facility holds 20 television and radio transmission towers along with fire and police communication equipment.
Tragically, two firefighters died Sunday when their vehicle went down a steep enbankment as they were battling the Station Fire.
Officials identified the dead as Capt. Tedmund Hall, 47, and Spc. Arnaldo Quinones, 35.
Two residents who ignored mandatory Station Fire evacuation orders were severely burned when they decided to wait out the blaze in a hot tub, according to sheriff's officials.
"Our hearts are heavy as we are tragically reminded of the sacrifices our firefighters and their families make daily to keep us safe," California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued Sunday. "This is a devastating day for firefighters everywhere, and Maria and I join all Californians in expressing our gratitude and sadness. Our hearts go out to their loved ones."
Both were severely burned when flames ripped through their Big Tujunga neighborhood Saturday.
The Station Fire began Wednesday and had destroyed 18 structures by Sunday. The fire also is threatening 500 businesses and 2,000 other structures. The blaze grew over the weekend in an area that has not witnessed a major fire in more than six decades.
Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Friday as a result of the Station Fire. He has also declared a state of emergency in Monterey County, where one blaze, called the Gloria Fire, has burned approximately 6,500 acres, and another, called the Bryson Fire, has charred more than 3,000 acres.