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Mountaineers Fire Crew lined up and ready to do their part in taming the Mountain Fire on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Mountaineers Fire Crew lined up and ready to do their part in taming the Mountain Fire on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
The Mountain Fire has reached 8,000 acres at 10 percent containment, resulting in the evacuation of 24 homes.
The Mountain Fire has reached 8,000 acres at 10 percent containment, resulting in the evacuation of 24 homes.
The Mountain Fire has reached 8,000 acres at 10 percent containment, resulting in the evacuation of 24 homes.
The Mountain Fire has reached 8,000 acres at 10 percent containment, resulting in the evacuation of 24 homes.
The fast-moving fire raging in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild has burgeoned to 14,200 acres but is only 10 percent contained today, having destroyed six homes.
The fast-moving fire raging in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild has burgeoned to 14,200 acres but is only 10 percent contained today,...
Mount Fires Plume rises high above the valley. As of Wed. July 17th over 14,000 acres have been consumed.
Mount Fires Plume rises high above the valley. As of Wed. July 17th over 14,000 acres have been consumed.
Outline on map shows the charred areas from the Mountain Fire.
Outline on map shows the charred areas from the Mountain Fire.
Helicopter bucket makes its rounds of picking up water and dropping near Bonita Vista Rd. south east of Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Helicopter bucket makes its rounds of picking up water and dropping near Bonita Vista Rd. south east of Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Helicopter bucket makes its rounds of picking up water and dropping near Bonita Vista Rd. south east of Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Helicopter bucket makes its rounds of picking up water and dropping near Bonita Vista Rd. south east of Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
The fast-moving fire raging in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild has burgeoned to 19,400 acres and was 15 percent contained today.To view more photos of the fire, go to: http://idyllwildtowncrier.com/
The fast-moving fire raging in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild has burgeoned to 19,400 acres and was 15 percent contained today. To...
A fireman tends to some leftover smoldering spots of a burned down structure at Pine Springs Ranch on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
A fireman tends to some leftover smoldering spots of a burned down structure at Pine Springs Ranch on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
A fireman tends to some leftover smoldering spots of a burned down structure at Pine Springs Ranch on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
A fireman tends to some leftover smoldering spots of a burned down structure at Pine Springs Ranch on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Mountaineers Fire Crew receive a briefing on the task at hand on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Mountaineers Fire Crew receive a briefing on the task at hand on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Mountaineers Fire Crew based out of Redding, California drop in to help ground crews battle hot spots in near vertical terrain south east of Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Mountaineers Fire Crew based out of Redding, California drop in to help ground crews battle hot spots in near vertical terrain south east of Idyllwild...
Dwarfed by the rugged and open terrain, fire crews work at left over smoldering spots to prevent any new ignition areas on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Dwarfed by the rugged and open terrain, fire crews work at left over smoldering spots to prevent any new ignition areas on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
A housing structure off Apple Canyon Rd. fell victim to the Mountain Fire's rapid path of destruction.
A housing structure off Apple Canyon Rd. fell victim to the Mountain Fire's rapid path of destruction.
Burned out maintenance storage facility at Pine Springs Ranch near Idyllwild.
Burned out maintenance storage facility at Pine Springs Ranch near Idyllwild.
A utility ATV burned out from the Mountain Fire at Pine Springs Ranch on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
A utility ATV burned out from the Mountain Fire at Pine Springs Ranch on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Paint cans left in the remains of a maintenance storage facility at the Pine Springs Ranch near Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Paint cans left in the remains of a maintenance storage facility at the Pine Springs Ranch near Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Empty chairs left in the burned remains of a housing structure in the Bonita Vista area near Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Empty chairs left in the burned remains of a housing structure in the Bonita Vista area near Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Remains of a housing structure that fell victim to the Mountain Fire in the Bonita Vista area near Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Remains of a housing structure that fell victim to the Mountain Fire in the Bonita Vista area near Idyllwild on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
The fire perimeter is outlined in red on this map released 7/20/13.
The fire perimeter is outlined in red on this map released 7/20/13.

Mountain Fire expected to be fully contained today


Monday, July 15th, 2013
Issue 29, Volume 17.
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IDYLLWILD - A wildfire that scorched more than 27,000 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest since breaking out near Idyllwild nine days ago was expected to be fully contained today.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the blaze was 85 percent surrounded, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which said the cost of fighting the Mountain Fire had risen to $22.8 million.

The blaze had scorched 27,531 acres as of Tuesday night, with the acreage having changed little since Sunday, thanks to rain from thunderstorms over the past few days. The area is expected to dry out today and Thursday.

The number of fire personnel assigned to the blaze has been cut by more than half, with 1,146 remaining as of Tuesday morning, down from 3,347 on Saturday. The ramping-down included reducing 228 engines to 24; 68 hand crews to 33; and 11 bulldozers to two. Six helicopters remain available if needed, officials said.

The blaze has claimed 23 structures, including seven homes, but no major injuries have been reported.

The fire is believed to have started around 1:45 p.m. on July 15 near the junction of Highways 243 and 74. The 23 structures swallowed by the blaze were all destroyed on the first day of the fire.

The cause remains under investigation, but Jeanne Pincha-Tully, a U.S. Forest Service fire chief, said last week that the fire was determined to be "human-caused."

Evacuations that affected as many as 6,000 people were lifted on Sunday, although the Riverside County Fire Department on Monday issued an evacuation warning for residents to voluntarily leave the area of Apple Canyon Road north of Bonita Vista Road because of possible flash flooding and debris flows in the fire-denuded area.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which closed Thursday due to fire- generated smoke, reopened Tuesday. The nearby Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area, several campgrounds, Humber Park and Pacific Crest Trail and its connecting trails remain closed.


Mountain Fire 85% contained; 27,000 acres charred; flash flood warnings expired

IDYLLWILD - Crews were close today to encircling a wildfire that has chewed through more than 27,000 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest since breaking out last week near Idyllwild.

The U.S. Forest Service estimated the cost of fighting the Mountain Fire at $22.8 million to date.

As of 6 p.m., the blaze was 85 percent contained, or surrounded, with full containment expected sometime Wednesday, according to the Forest Service.

The blaze has scorched an estimated 27,531 acres. The acreage has changed little since Sunday night, thanks to rain from thunderstorms over the past few days. The area is expected to dry out Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Forest Service.

Evacuations that affected as many as 6,000 people were lifted on Sunday, although the Riverside County Fire Department on Monday issued an evacuation warning for residents to voluntarily leave the area of Apple Canyon Road north of Bonita Vista Road because of possible flash flooding and debris flows in the fire-denuded area.

A flash flood warning for the area expired at 9 p.m. Monday, but a diminished threat of thunderstorms, and with them possible flash flooding, continued today, said National Weather Service meteorologist Stefanie Sullivan.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which closed Thursday due to fire- generated smoke, reopened today. The nearby Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area, several campgrounds, Humber Park and Pacific Crest Trail and its connecting trails remain closed.

The number of fire personnel assigned to the blaze has been cut by more than half, with 1,146 remaining as of this morning, down from 3,347 on Saturday. The ramping-down included reducing 228 engines to 24; 68 hand crews to 33; and 11 bulldozers to two. Six helicopters remain available if needed, officials said.

The blaze has claimed 23 structures, including seven homes, but no major injuries have been reported.

The fire is believed to have started around 1:45 p.m. on July 15 near the junction of Highways 243 and 74. The 23 structures swallowed by the blaze were all destroyed on the first day of the fire.

The cause remains under investigation, but Jeanne Pincha-Tully, a U.S. Forest Service fire chief, said Thursday the fire was determined to be "human- caused."


IDYLLWILD - Crews were close today to encircling a wildfire that has chewed through more than 27,000 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest since breaking out last week near Idyllwild, authorities said.

As of Monday evening, the Mountain Fire was 85 percent contained - with about 10 miles of fire lines still to be carved out - and full containment was expected Wednesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The blaze has scorched 27,332 acres -- numbers virtually unchanged since Sunday night as "significant rainfall" fell on the burn area over the past three days, officials said.

The assistance of mother nature gave firefighters a chance to stand down.

Crews were not working the fire overnight but will "patrol and monitor the fire perimeter (today) to guard against any potential escape," according to a Forest Service statement.

"As condition permit, crews will continue to construct direct line, mop up, patrol and perform fire line suppression repair," according to the Forest Service.

Evacuations that affected as many as 6,000 people were lifted on Sunday, although the Riverside County Fire Department on Monday issued an evacuation warning for residents to voluntarily leave the area of Apple Canyon Road north of Bonita Vista Road because of possible flash flooding and debris flows.

A flash flood warning for the area expired at 9 p.m. Monday, but a diminished threat of thunderstorms, and with them possible flash flooding, continues today, said National Weather Service meteorologist Stefanie Sullivan.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which has been closed since Thursday due to smoke from the Mountain Fire in the Idyllwild area, is scheduled to reopen today. The nearby Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area, however, remains closed.

The number of fire personnel assigned to the blaze has been cut by more than half, with 1,146 remaining as of this morning, down from 3,347 on Saturday. The ramping-down included reducing 228 engines to 24; 68 hand crews to 33; and 11 bulldozers to two. Six helicopters remain available if needed, officials said.

The blaze has claimed 23 structures, including seven homes, but no major injuries have been reported.

The fire is believed to have started around 1:45 p.m. on May 15 near the junction of Highways 243 and 74. The 23 structures swallowed by the blaze were all destroyed last Monday.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but Jeanne Pincha- Tully, a U.S. Forest Service fire chief, said Thursday the fire had been determined to be "human-caused."

The Forest Service has estimated the cost of fighting the fire, at last count, at $21.6 million.


Flash flood warnings issued for Mountain Fire area

IDYLLWILD - Flash flood warnings were issued for the Mountain Fire area today, as heavy thunderstorms moved over mountain slopes covered with fresh ash from a 27,000-plus acre fire.

At 1:05 p.m., the National Weather Service warned that debris flows and flash flooding could be caused by additional heavy rain on the steep slopes just denuded of plants and trees by the big fire.

The flood warnings came as evacuation orders for Idyllwild and other threatened communities were lifted for residents and business operators.

Heavy rain Saturday night -- up to 1-1/2 inches -- knocked down most flames and gave firefighters a break as they completed fire lines near Idyllwild.

But at 12:54 p.m. NWS radar "indicated very heavy rains near Mountain Center," the NWS office in San Diego warned. "This includes the western part of the Mountain Fire burn area."

The overnight rain had already added slick mud, shifting winds and the dangers of lightning to the hazards facing firefighters.

Residents and business owners were issued permits and allowed to return to Idyllwild and outlying subdivisions at about 11 a.m., after firefighters determined that overnight rain and steady progress on the fires western front had put a real damper on flames.

"With the rain and the hard work that was done last night, the threat to Idyllwild is over," said fire command spokesman Rico Smith, of the Bureau of Land Management.

But the rain was a double-edged sword, with some firefighter ordered off ridges due to lightning danger, and burned mountainsides turning into slick mudfields by as much as 1-1/2 inches of rain overnight.

Storms moved out of the area by sunrise, but Smith said "we expect rain this afternoon and that could hinder firefighters efforts with lightning.

"We're taking advantage of the lull we have right now to put in more containment lines, particularly on the northeast flank towards the Palm Springs (Aerial) Tramway," Smith told City News Service.

"Once that ash gets wet, it's pretty slick stuff."

Containment lines roughly doubled over the past 24 hours, with firefighters declaring 49 percent of the blaze surrounded with safe areas. Significant progress was reported in the Trails End area, but the burned acreage estimate remained at 27,245 acres.

A huge portion of the wooded mountains east of Idyllwild and southwest of Palm Springs has been lost to flames. But the popular forests at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, at about 8,500 feet above sea level, have mostly been saved.

Overnight lightning strikes and heavy rain created hazardous conditions and "some crews were taken off the lines due to severe weather," U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller said.

But "with diminished fire activity, firefighters made great progress with line construction, particularly on the east side towards Palm Springs."

Equipment and crews were ferried up about 6,000 feet of elevation, from the desert to the green meadows above Palm Springs.

"Today's priority for fire operations is focused at the northernmost part of the fire, with crews at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway constructing direct hand line at the fire's edge to reduce the threat to Idyllwild and surrounding communities," Miller said.

The thunderstorms had dissipated by sunrise, but a huge pulse of monsoon moisture and heavy thunderstorms were moving west out of Arizona. Meteorologists said heat from today's clear skies could trigger large thunderheads as the monsoon moves west across the Colorado River and Coachella valleys.

Idyllwild and Fern Valley remained under mandatory evacuation orders as the fire reached its seventh day, and the estimated fire total remained at 27,245 of burned forest. It has destroyed at least 23 structures, including seven homes lost on the fire's first day, Monday.

The Trails End and Camp Joe Scherman areas had their mandatory evacuation orders lifted Saturday. Apple Canyon, Bonita Vista, Fobes Canyon, and Pine Springs ranch areas were also open to residents.

As for the rain, "I'm guessing it's more help than hurt," said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Sheldon Keafer, who said he had not been informed of any adverse effects from the heavy precipitation.

Some 3,347 firefighters were on the scene, including 228 engines, 68 crews, 11 bulldozers and 20 helicopters, fire officials said. The estimated date of full containment was next Friday night at midnight.


Heavy Rain Soaks Wildfire, 'Excellent Progress' Says Crews

IDYLLWILD - An inch and a half of rain fell on the Mountain Fire overnight, dousing some flames but adding mud, shifting winds and the dangers of lightning to hazards facing firefighters.

Containment lines roughly doubled over 24 hours, with firefighters declaring 49 percent of the blaze surrounded with safe areas. Significant progress was reported in the Trails End area.

A huge portion of the wooded mountains east of Idyllwild and southwest of Palm Springs has been lost to flames. But the popular forests at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, at about 8,500 feet above sea level, have mostly been saved.

Overnight lightning strikes and heavy rain created hazardous conditions and "some crews were taken off the lines due to severe weather," U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller said.

But "with diminished fire activity, firefighters made great progress with line construction, particularly on the east side towards Palm Springs."

Equipment and crews were ferried up about 6,000 feet of elevation, from the desert to the green meadows above Palm Springs.

"Today's priority for fire operations is focused at the northernmost part of the fire, with crews at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway constructing direct hand line at the fire's edge to reduce the threat to Idyllwild and surrounding communities," Miller said.

The thunderstorms had dissipated by sunrise, but a huge pulse of monsoon moisture and heavy thunderstorms were moving west out of Arizona. Meteorologists said heat from today's clear skies could trigger large thunderheads as the monsoon moves west across the Colorado River and Coachella valleys.

Idyllwild and Fern Valley remained under mandatory evacuation orders as the fire reached its seventh day, and the estimated fire total remained at 27,245 of burned forest. It has destroyed at least 23 structures, including seven homes lost on the fire's first day, Monday.

The Trails End and Camp Joe Scherman areas had their mandatory evacuation orders lifted Saturday. Apple Canyon, Bonita Vista, Fobes Canyon, and Pine Springs ranch areas were also open to residents.

As for the rain, "I'm guessing it's more help than hurt," said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Sheldon Keafer, who said he had not been informed of any adverse effects from the heavy precipitation.

Some 3,347 firefighters were on the scene, including 228 engines, 68 crews, 11 bulldozers and 20 helicopters, fire officials said. The estimated date of full containment was Friday, July 26, at midnight.

State Highway 74 remained open, Fobes Ranch Road was reopened, but State Highway 243 was closed from State Highway 74 through Idyllwild to the Nature Center south of Pine Cove.


IDYLLWILD - Heavy rain and lightning could benefit firefighters battling a 27,245 acre blaze that was roughly 49 percent contained this morning, U.S. Forest Service officials said today.

The rainfall near Palm Springs had been expected, but also sparked concerns potential flooding could cause mudslides or limit access, according to media reports.

Now in its seventh day, the fire near Idyllwild, Fern Valley and Pine Cove now in its seventh day and Idyllwild, Fern Valley and Pine Cove has destroyed at least 23 structures, including seven homes.

But this morning, area officials were also keeping an eye on the rain, which had been forecast.

"I'm guessing it's more help than hurt," said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Sheldon Keafer, who had not been informed of any adverse effects from the rain this morning.

East winds forecast for overnight hours brought an increased chance of rain and a flash flood watch, "as even relatively moderate amounts of rain can cause soil erosion in burned areas," fire officials said earlier .

"If there is rain at higher elevations, Herkey Creek could experience high flows, creating additional hazards for firefighters," they said.

Some 3,347 firefighters were on the scene, including 228 engines, 68 crews, 11 bulldozers and 20 helicopters, fire officials said. The night crews were expected to "reinforce and build containment lines," officials said.

The estimated date of full containment was Friday, July 26, at midnight.

Firefighters made "tremendous progress" containing the fire Saturday," officials said. "With higher humidity and lower temperatures, firefighters were able to make significant gains in the area above Trails End" they said.

Evacuations remained in Idyllwild and Fern Valley and an evacuation warning held for Pine Creek, officials said.

Evacuation orders were lifted for the communities of Trails End and Camp Joe Scherman, Apple Canyon, Bonita Vista, Fobes Canyon and Pine Springs Ranch.

State Highway 74 remained open, Fobes Ranch Road was reopened, but State Highway 243 was closed from State Highway 74 to the Nature Center south of Pine Cove.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, but Jeanne Pincha- Tulley, a Forest Service fire chief, said Thursday the fire has been determined to be "human-caused."


Moist air and cloud cover expected to aid firefighters battling 27,179 acre Mountain Fire

IDYLLWILD - Moist air and cloud cover today were expected to aid the efforts of firefighters battling the massive Mountain Fire, which has burned 27,179 acres, forced thousands of people from their homes and destroyed 23 structures in the San Bernardino National Forest near Palm Springs.

The blaze, which officials say was the result of human activity, broke out Monday afternoon in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243, south of Mountain Center, and was just 15 percent contained as of 11 p.m. Friday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

An evacuation warning was issued Friday morning for the community of Pine Cove near Idyllwild, advising anyone feeling threatened by fire to evacuate, and everyone in the area to prepare for a possible evacuation order, authorities said.

Three firefighters suffered slight smoke inhalation injuries in the first hours of the fire, which has destroyed 23 structures, including seven residences, authorities said. An area of more than 6,000 acres of the fire- charred land is part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians' reservation, according to the tribe.

Containment has held steady at 15 percent, unchanged since Wednesday, because the fire continues to grow even as crews cut new lines around it, said Forest Service spokesman Sheldon Keafer.

Firefighters today were working to extend containment lines on the fire's southern flank, officials said.

The moist air moving into the area brings with it the threat of thunderstorms, which could generate erratic winds capable of fanning the flames, Keafer said.

"It's kind of a mixed bag," he said. "You may get rain with the storm, but you may get the wind that will blow things out."

A total of 3,478 firefighters, 260 engines, two DC-10s and eight other fixed-wing aircraft, 20 helicopters, 30 water tenders and 15 bulldozers were deployed in battling the blaze as of Friday night.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday issued an emergency proclamation for Riverside County, making the it eligible for

state and federal assistance. Newsom is acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown is out of the state.

The cost of operations was $10.9 million as of Friday evening, according to the Forest Service.

Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, a Forest Service fire chief, said on Thursday that the fire has been determined to be "human-caused" and is being investigated.

Evacuation orders remained in force today in the communities of Trails End, Idyllwild and Fern Valley -- affecting as many as 6,000 people -- but residents of the Bonita Vista and Apple Valley areas have been allowed to return to their homes, according to the Forest Service.

On Wednesday, evacuation orders were issued for an area that includes Forest Service land and Mount San Jacinto State Park, San Jacinto Wilderness and the Trails End community at the north end of Morris Ranch Road near Garner Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Scot Collins said law enforcement personnel are patrolling evacuated areas.

Evacuation centers have been opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet and Beaumont high schools, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, according to the Forest Service.

Palm Springs hotels are offering discounted room rates for those affected by the fire, the city's tourism bureau announced on Thursday. A list of participating hotels is posted at www.visitpalmsprings.com.

Highway 243 was closed from Highway 74 to the Nature Center south of Pine Cove, but Highway 74, which had been closed from Cranston Station in Hemet to Highway 371, was reopened on Thursday, according to the Forest Service.

Smoke still hung over parts of the valley Friday. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was closed due to unhealthy air quality on Thursday and remained so on Friday. The Tahquitz and Indian canyons in the Palm Springs area will be closed to visitors until further notice because of the Mountain fire, according to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The canyons, which cover a 56- square-mile area, are owned and maintained by the tribe.

A smoke advisory issued by the South Coast Air Quality remained in effect Friday for parts of the Coachella Valley, Hemet, the San Jacinto Valley, the Banning Pass area and the Anza area.


25,000 acres charred in Mountain Fire; three firefighters slightly injured,

IDYLLWILD - The wildfire burning in steep mountainous terrain in the San Bernardino National Forest southwest of Palm Springs grew to nearly 25,000 acres today, with containment still at only 15 percent, keeping thousands of people under evacuation orders even as others got the green light to go home again.

This morning, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department issued an evacuation warning for the community of Pine Cove near Idyllwild. Anyone who feels threatened by the Mountain Fire should evacuate, and everyone in the area should prepare for a possible evacuation order and be ready to leave if one is issued, according to authorities.

The fire, which officials say was the result of human activity, broke out at around 1:45 p.m. Monday in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243, south of Mountain Center, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which revealed this morning that three firefighters were slightly injured in the first hours of the battle, suffering smoke inhalation.

As of this morning, the fire had charred 24,818 acres and destroyed 23 structures, with containment holding at 15 percent, unchanged from Wednesday, according to the Forest Service. An area of more than 6,000 acres of the fire- charred land is part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians' reservation, according to the tribe.

A total of 3,316 firefighters, 263 engines, a DC-10 and nine other fixed- wing aircraft, 19 helicopters, 30 water tenders and 11 bulldozers were deployed in battling the blaze as of this morning.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom today issued an emergency proclamation for Riverside County, making the county eligible for state and federal assistance. Newsom is acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown is out of the state.

The cost of operations was at $8.6 million as of today, according to the Forest Service.

Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, a Forest Service fire chief, said on Thursday that the fire has been determined to be "human-caused" and is being investigated.

Evacuation orders remained in force today in the communities of Trails End, Idyllwild and Fern Valley -- affecting as many as 6,000 people -- but residents of the Bonita Vista and Apple Valley areas have been allowed to return to their homes, according to the Forest Service.

On Wednesday, evacuation orders were issued for an area that includes Forest Service land and Mount San Jacinto State Park, San Jacinto Wilderness and the Trails End community at the north end of Morris Ranch Road near Garner Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Scot Collins said law enforcement personnel are patrolling evacuated areas.

Mountain Center and Poppet Flats were not affected by the evacuation orders, which were issued on Wednesday by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

Evacuation centers have been opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet and Beaumont high schools, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, according to the Forest Service.

Palm Springs hotels are offering discounted room rates for those affected by the fire, the city's tourism bureau announced on Thursday. A list of participating hotels is posted at www.visitpalmsprings.com.

Highway 243 was closed from Highway 74 to the Nature Center south of Pine Cove, but Highway 74, which had been closed from Cranston Station in Hemet to Highway 371, was reopened on Thursday, according to the Forest Service.

Smoke still hung over parts of the valley today. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was closed due to unhealthy air quality on Thursday and remained so today. The Tahquitz and Indian canyons in the Palm Springs area will be closed to visitors until further notice because of the Mountain fire, according to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The canyons, which cover a 56-square- mile area, are owned and maintained by the tribe.

A smoke advisory issued by the South Coast Air Quality remained in effect today for parts of the Coachella Valley, Hemet, the San Jacinto Valley, the Banning Pass area and the Anza area.

UPDATE: The Riverside County Sheriff's Department has issued an evacuation warning for the community of Pine Cove near Idyllwild. Authorities are recommending that anyone who feels threatened by the Mountain Fire should evacuate, and everyone in the area should prepare for a possible evacuation order and be ready to leave if one is issued.


UPDATE: July 19, 2013

IDYLLWILD - The wildfire burning in steep mountainous terrain in the San Bernardino National Forest southwest of Palm Springs grew to nearly 25,000 acres today, with containment still at only 15 per cent, keeping thousands of people under evacuation orders even as others got the green light to go home again.

The Mountain Fire, which officials say was the result of human activity, broke out around 1:45 p.m. Monday in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243, south of Mountain Center, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which revealed this morning that three firefighters were slightly injured in the first hours of the battle, suffering smoke inhalation.

As of this morning, the fire had charred 24,818 acres and destroyed 23 structures, with containment holding at 15 percent, unchanged from Wednesday, according to the USFS. More than 6,000 acres of the fire-charred land is part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians' reservation, according to the tribe.

A total of 3,316 firefighters, 263 engines, a DC-10 and nine other fixed- wing aircraft, 19 helicopters, 30 water tenders and 15 bulldozers were deployed in battling the blaze as of Thursday night. Two California Air National Guard firefighting aircraft were activated Thursday to help if needed.

Firefighters used the overnight cooler temperatures to fortify and expand containment lines for today's continuing firefighting efforts, officials said.

There was a chance of thunderstorms today, but they would likely bring more wind than rain, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Greg Martin. Thunderstorms also raise the fear of lightning-sparked fires, he said.

"As we go through the weekend there is more potential of getting some thunderstorms with more rainfall," he said.

Riverside County Thursday declared a local emergency, which could make the county eligible for disaster relief if state and federal funds become available for fire-response reimbursement, county spokesman Ray Smith said. The cost of operations was at $5.5 million as of Friday, according to the Forest Service

The flames came within sight of Palm Springs Thursday, reaching a point just two miles from the city's western edge, but there was no immediate threat to the urban center.

Several fire engines are ready "should additional protection be needed," said Palm Springs Fire Department Chief John Allen, and a U.S. Forest Service official said efforts to keep the blaze away from populated areas were going well.

"We are putting in place a strategy to work our way east ... to contain the fire," Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, a Forest Service fire chief said Thursday at an early-afternoon briefing outside a command post set up to coordinate firefighting operations.

"We've lost three permanent homes and three mobile homes (earlier in the week), but we got everybody out safe and sound," Pincha-Tulley said. "We've got hotshots, Cal Fire resources and quite a fleet of aircraft available. We're doing pretty well. We are the national priority right now."

She said the fire has been determined to be "human-caused" and is being investigated.

Evacuation orders remained in force today in the communities of Trails End, Idyllwild and Fern Valley -- affecting as many as 6,000 people -- but residents of the Bonita Vista and Apple Valley areas have been allowed to return to their homes, according to the Forest Service.

Patrick Reitz, chief of the Idyllwild Fire Protection District, said officials are "optimistic and trying to remain optimistic ... we can keep this on the other side of the ridge so it doesn't come into town."

Some 4,100 residences in the evacuation zones, plus 100 commercial properties, were threatened by the blaze, U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller said earlier this week.

In the Coachella Valley, evacuations orders issued for the Andreas Canyon Club, an area of 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive in an unincorporated area south of Palm Springs, were lifted Wednesday, said Forest Service spokeswoman Kate Kramer.

Officials said the fire remains active in the north above Idyllwild and south near Trails End.

On Wednesday, evacuation orders were issued for an area that includes Forest Service land and Mount San Jacinto State Park, San Jacinto Wilderness and the Trails End community at the north end of Morris Ranch Road near Garner Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Scot Collins said law enforcement personnel are patrolling evacuated areas.

Pine Cove, Mountain Center and Poppet Flats were not affected by the evacuation orders, which were issued Wednesday by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

Evacuation centers have been opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet and Beaumont high schools, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, according to the Forest Service.

Palm Springs hotels are offering discounted room rates for those affected by the fire, the city's tourism bureau announced Thursday. A list of participating hotels is posted at www.visitpalmsprings.com.

Highway 243 was closed from Highway 74 to the Nature Center south of Pine Cove, but Highway 74, which had been closed from Cranston Station in Hemet to Highway 371, was reopened Thursday, according to the Forest Service.

Smoke and ash, meanwhile, continued to bedevil the region Thursday, when the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was closed due to unhealthy air quality.

A smoke advisory issued by the South Coast Air Quality remained in effect today for parts of the Coachella Valley, Hemet, the San Jacinto Valley, the Banning Pass area and the Anza area but had not been extended as of early this morning, and the National Weather Service did not immediately have smoke in its forecast for Palms Spring, as it had over the previous two days.

"The city of Palm Springs is safe and open for business," the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism said.


Some residents allowed to return; "Human caused" Mountain Fire burns nearly 25,000 acres

July 18, 2013

Mountain Fire determined to be "human caused;" fire burning 22,800 acres at 15% containment; 4100 homes threatened

IDYLLWILD - A "human caused" wildfire burning through steep mountainous terrain in the San Bernardino National Forest was within sight of Palm Springs today, though a fire official assured that efforts to keep the 22,800-acre blaze away from densely populated areas were going well.

"We are putting in place a strategy to work our way east ... to contain the fire," Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, a chief for the U.S. Forest Service, said during an early afternoon briefing outside a command post set up to coordinate operations connected with the Mountain Fire.

"We've lost three permanent homes and three mobile homes, but we got everybody out safe and sound," Pincha-Tulley said. "We've got hotshots, Cal Fire resources and quite a fleet of aircraft available. We're doing pretty well. We are the national priority right now."

She said flames from the monster blaze "sloped over onto the desert side" and were within two miles of Palm Springs' western boundary. But there was no immediate threat to the urban center itself.

She said the fire was "human caused," but was still under investigation.

According to Pincha-Tulley, about 3,000 personnel were working the fire, with the most headway along state Route 74, which was serving as a natural fire break on the Mountain Fire's southern flank.

The USFS spokeswoman expressed concerns about the blaze's towering columns spitting embers miles away from the main inferno, further complicating efforts to get it under control.

"We've got 17 helicopters and lots of retardant," Pincha-Tulley said. "So far, so good."

She said evacuation orders remain in place in the communities of Trails End, Idyllwild and Fern Valley.

"If the fire goes over the slopes and makes a major run (downhill), we wouldn't have much time to get people out of there," Pincha-Tulley told reporters. "We asked everybody to leave last night so we can secure the area

without worrying about folks getting in the way."

Patrick Reitz, chief of the Idyllwild Fire Protection District, said officials are "optimistic and trying to remain optimistic ... we can keep this on the other side of the ridge so it doesn't come into town."

Evacuation orders issued Wednesday include Forest Service land and Mount San Jacinto State Park and the Trails End community at the north end of Morris Ranch Road near Garner Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Riverside County sheriff's Capt. Scot Collins said law enforcement personnel are patrolling evacuated areas.

There also have been evacuations in the Coachella Valley, within the Andreas Canyon Club, an area of 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive in an unincorporated area south of Palm Springs.

Some 4,100 residences in the evacuation zones, plus 100 commercial properties, are threatened by the blaze, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller.

The evacuation orders affected about 6,000 people living northwest of the fire zone and were prompted in part by a shift of direction in the prevailing winds, said Melody Lardner of the Forest Service.

Pine Cove, Mountain Center, western Idyllwild and Poppet Flats were not affected by the evacuation orders, which were issued by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

Highway 243 was closed from Highway 74 to Interstate 10 in Banning, and Highway 74 was closed from Cranston Station in Hemet to Highway 371, according to Caltrans.

Smoke and ash, meanwhile, continued to bedevil the region. A smoke advisory issued by the South Coast Air Quality was in effect today for parts of the Coachella Valley, Hemet, the San Jacinto Valley, the Banning Pass area and the Anza area.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was closed this morning, continuing until further notice.

A total of 228 engines, 10 fixed-wing aircraft, 17 helicopters, 21 water tenders and 15 bulldozers were deployed as of this morning. The cost of operations has reached $5.5 million, according to the Forest Service.

The Mountain Fire ignited in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243, south of Mountain Center, around 1:45 p.m. Monday and has destroyed 23 structures. It's burning at a "rapid" rate through timber and chaparral in very steep and

rugged terrain, according to the Forest Service.

Late Monday afternoon, two dozen area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita Vista.

Camp Ronald McDonald and Camp Joe Sherman were voluntarily evacuated because of concerns about air quality.

Evacuation centers have been opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet and Beaumont high schools, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, according to the Forest Service.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, as were all of the trails connected to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area. Hurkey Creek County Campground and hiking and mountain biking trails out of the campground and May Valley were also closed.


Mountain Fire burning 22,800 acres at 15% containment; 4100 homes threatened; around 6,000 under evacuation orders

MOUNTAIN CENTER - Around 6,000 people were under evacuation orders today as the Mountain Fire -- having burgeoned to 22,800 acres, with containment at only 15 percent -- raged in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild for a fourth day.

Officials Wednesday night ordered evacuations for the Idyllwild and Fern Valley areas east of Highway 243 -- which includes Forest Service land and Mount San Jacinto State Park -- and the Trails End community at the north end of Morris Ranch Road near Garner Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Some 4,100 residences in the evacuation zones, plus 100 commercial properties, are threatened by the blaze, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller.

The evacuation orders affected about 6,000 people living northwest of the fire zone and were prompted in part by a shift of direction in the prevailing winds, said Melody Lardner, a Forest Service spokeswoman.

Pine Cove, Mountain Center, western Idyllwild and Poppet Flats were not affected by the evacuation orders, which were issued by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

Miller said the most active parts of the fire are near Red Tahquitz Peak above Idyllwild and near Trails End to the south.

"These two areas will be the focus of today's firefighting activities as both air and ground crews work to slow the rate of spread of the fire," Miller said.

Highway 243 was closed from Highway 74 to Interstate 10 in Banning, and Highway 74 was closed from Cranston Station in Hemet to Highway 371, according to Caltrans.

Smoke and ash, meanwhile, continued to bedevil the region. A smoke advisory issued by the South Coast Air Quality was in effect today in parts of the Coachella Valley, Hemet, the San Jacinto Valley, the Banning Pass area and

the Anza area. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was closed this morning until further notice.

There also have been evacuations in the Coachella Valley. Evacuation orders were issued for Andreas Canyon Club, an area of 24 homes south of PalmCanyon Drive in an unincorporated area south of Palm Springs on Tuesday night.

"Protecting the community of Idyllwild, Hemet Lake area and Palm Springs remain a high priority and will be the focus of firefighting efforts," Miller said Wednesday night.

A total of 2,985 personnel, 228 engines, 10 fixed-wing aircraft, 17 helicopters, 21 water tenders and 15 bulldozers were deployed as of this morning. So far, it has cost $5.5 million to fight the fire, according to the Forest Service.

Two night-flying aircraft continued to make aerial attacks on the blaze overnight, according to the Forest Service. The Mountain Fire broke in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243 south of Mountain Center around 1:45 p.m. Monday, the cause undetermined. It has destroyed 23 structures, including seven residences on the first day, and was burning at a "rapid" rate through timber and chaparral in "very steep and rugged terrain," a Forest Service statement said.

Late Monday afternoon, two dozen area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita

Vista.

Camp Ronald McDonald and Camp Joe Sherman were voluntarily evacuated because of concerns about air quality.

Evacuation centers have been opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet and Beaumont high schools, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, according to the Forest Service.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, and all of the trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area were closed, as well. Hurkey Creek County Campground and hiking and mountain biking trails out of the campground and May Valley were also closed.


MOUNTAIN CENTER - Around 6,000 people were under evacuation orders today as the Mountain Fire -- having burgeoned to more than 22,800 acres, with containment at 15 percent -- raged in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild for a fourth day.

Officials Wednesday night ordered evacuations for the Idyllwild and Fern Valley areas east of Highway 243 -- which includes Forest Service land and Mount San Jacinto State Park -- and the Trails End community at the north end of Morris Ranch Road near Garner Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Some 4,100 residences in the evacuation zones, plus 100 commercial properties, are threatened by the blaze, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller.

The evacuation orders affected about 6,000 people living northwest of the fire zone and were prompted in part by a shift of direction in the prevailing winds, said Melody Lardner, a Forest Service spokeswoman.

Pine Cove, Mountain Center, Idyllwild West and Poppet Flats were not affected by the evacuation orders, which were issued by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

Miller said the most active parts of the fire are near Red Tahquitz Peak above Idyllwild and near Trails End to the south.

"These two areas will be the focus of today's firefighting activities as both air and ground crews work to slow the rate of spread of the fire," Miller said.

Highway 243 was closed from Highway 74 to Interstate 10 in Banning, and Highway 74 was closed from Cranston Station in Hemet to Highway 371, according to Caltrans.

Smoke and ash, meanwhile, continued to bedevil the region. A smoke advisory issued by the South Coast Air Quality was in effect today in parts of the Coachella Valley, Hemet, the San Jacinto Valley, the Banning Pass area and the Anza Area.

There also have been evacuations in the Coachella Valley. Evacuation orders were issued for Andreas Canyon Club, an area of 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive in an unincorporated area south of Palm Springs on Tuesday night.

"Protecting the community of Idyllwild, Hemet Lake area and Palm Springs remain a high priority and will be the focus of firefighting efforts," Miller said Wednesday night.

A total of 2,985 personnel, 228 engines, a DC-10 and nine other fixed- wing aircraft, 17 helicopters, 21 water tenders and 15 bulldozers were deployed as of this morning, according to the Forest Service.

Two night-flying aircraft continued to make aerial attacks on the blaze overnight, according to the Forest Service.

The Mountain Fire broke in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243 south of Mountain Center around 1:45 p.m. Monday, the cause undetermined. It has destroyed 23 structures, including seven residences on the first day, and was burning at a "rapid" rate through timber and chaparral in "very steep and rugged terrain," a Forest Service statement said.

Late Monday afternoon, two dozen area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita Vista.

Camp Ronald McDonald and Camp Joe Sherman were voluntarily evacuated because of health concerns about air quality.

Evacuation centers have been opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet and Beaumont high schools, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Animal Center, according to the Forest Service.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, and all of the trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area were closed, as well. Hurkey Creek County Campground and hiking and mountain biking trails out of the campground and May Valley were also closed.

MOUNTAIN CENTER - The fast-moving fire raging in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild spurred more evacuations and road closures today.

Officials ordered evacuations for the Idyllwild and Fern Valley areas east of Highway 243 -- which includes Forest Service land and Mount San Jacinto State Park -- and the Trails End community at north end of Morris Ranch Road near Garner Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Highway 243 was closed from Highway 74 to Interstate 10 in Banning, and Highway 74 was closed from Cranston Station in Hemet to Highway 371, according to Caltrans.

Smoke and ash from the fire filled parts of the Coachella Valley.

The Mountain Fire broke out for unknown reasons in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243 south of Mountain Center around 1:45 p.m. Monday. As of 6 p.m. it had burned 19,400 acres and was 15 percent contained, according to the John Miller of the Forest Service. No injuries have been reported.

The fire has destroyed 23 structures, including seven residences during its first day. The fire is threatening 4,100 residences and 100 commercial properties, Miller said.

The fire was burning at a "rapid" rate through timber and chaparral in "very steep and rugged terrain," a Forest Service statement said.

Evacuation orders were issued for Andreas Canyon Club, an area of 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive in an unincorporated area south of Palm Springs on Tuesday night, according to the Forest Service.

Late Monday afternoon, two dozen area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita Vista.

Camp Ronald McDonald and Camp Joe Sherman were voluntarily evacuated because of health concerns about air quality.

Evacuation centers were opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet High School, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Animal Center, the Forest Service

reported.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, and all of the trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area were closed, as well. Hurkey Creek County Campground and hiking and mountain biking trails out of the campground and May Valley were also closed.

A total of 2,985 personnel, 228 engines, a DC-10 and nine other fixed- wing aircraft, 17 helicopters, eight water tenders and 15 bulldozers were deployed as of this morning, according to the Forest Service.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for the second straight day today, warning Coachella Valley residents to avoid vigorous outdoor activity and advising people to stay indoors with windows and doors closed. Air quality in the area will be unhealthful for sensitive groups, such as asthma sufferers.

To view more photos of the fire, go to: http://idyllwildtowncrier.com/


MOUNTAIN CENTER - The fast-moving fire raging in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild spurred more evacuations and road closures today.

Officials ordered evacuations for the Idyllwild and Fern Valley areas east of Highway 243 -- which includes Forest Service land and Mount San Jacinto State Park -- and the Trails End community at north end of Morris Ranch Road

near Garner Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Highway 243 was closed from Highway 74 to Interstate 10 in Banning, and Highway 74 was closed from Cranston Station in Hemet to Highway 371, according to Caltrans.

Smoke and ash from the fire filled parts of the Coachella Valley.

The Mountain Fire broke out for unknown reasons in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243 south of Mountain Center around 1:45 p.m. Monday. As of 6 p.m. it had burned 19,400 acres and was 15 percent contained, according to the John Miller of the Forest Service. No injuries have been reported.

The fire has destroyed 23 structures, including seven residences during its first day. The fire is threatening 4,100 residences and 100 commercial properties, Miller said.

The fire was burning at a "rapid" rate through timber and chaparral in "very steep and rugged terrain," a Forest Service statement said.

Evacuation orders were issued for Andreas Canyon Club, an area of 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive in an unincorporated area south of Palm Springs on Tuesday night, according to the Forest Service.

Late Monday afternoon, two dozen area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita

Vista.

Camp Ronald McDonald and Camp Joe Sherman were voluntarily evacuated because of health concerns about air quality.

Evacuation centers were opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet High School, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Animal Center, the Forest

Service reported.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, and all of the trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area were closed, as well. Hurkey Creek County Campground and hiking and mountain biking

trails out of the campground and May Valley were also closed.

A total of 2,985 personnel, 228 engines, a DC-10 and nine other fixed-wing aircraft, 17 helicopters, eight water tenders and 15 bulldozers were deployed as of this morning, according to the Forest Service.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for the second straight day today, warning Coachella Valley residents to avoid vigorous outdoor activity and advising people to stay indoors with windows and doors closed. Air quality in the area will be unhealthful for sensitive groups, such as asthma sufferers.


6 p.m.

Idyllwild being evacuated as Mountain Fire burns 14,200 acres; fire 10% contained

The Riverside County Sheriff in cooperation with Idyllwild Fire has issued an evacuation notice for the Idyllwild and Fern Valley area EAST of Highway 243. This does not include Pine Cove, Idyllwild West, or other communties west of Highway 243.

This also includes the State Park Wilderness, Forest Service Wilderness, Forest Service Campgrounds.

Immediate Update - The Trails End Community at the very top of Morris Ranch Road is under an immediate Evacuation Notice Mandatory evacuation orders are still in effect for the Andreas Canyon Club, south of Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, and for Bonita Vista, Pine Springs, and the Zen Mountain Center off of Apple Canyon Road.

Camp Ronald McDonald and Camp Joe Sherman have been voluntarily evacuated due to health concerns related to air quality.

Evacuation centers include:

Hemet High School, 41701 E. Stetson Ave, Hemet

Hamilton High School, 57430 Mitchell Road, Anza - Can accept small animals

Small animals can be brought to the San Jacinto Animal Shelter, 581 S. Grand Ave, San Jacinto CA


Brush fire-caused evacuations have been ordered for the Trails End community at the north end of Morris Ranch Road near Garner Valley, the U.S. Forest Service reports. The Mountain Fire, which is burning in the area, has consumed 14,200 acres.


A new evacuation site for large animals is now available at the Lions Club Equestrian Field in Anza.

Call Lion Roland Vellanoweth to open the gates as they are locked at (951) 662-9166.


MOUNTAIN CENTER - The fast-moving fire raging in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild has burgeoned to 14,200 acres but is only 10 percent contained today, having destroyed six homes, the U.S. Forest service reported.

Smoke and ash from the fire, meanwhile, filled parts of the Coachella Valley.

The so-called Mountain Fire broke out for unknown reasons in the vicinity of highways 74 and 243 south of Mountain Center around 1:45 p.m. Monday. By 9 a.m. today, it had scorched 14,200 acres and was just 10 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No injuries have been reported.

The fire prompted the closure of Highway 243 between Saunders Meadow Road and Highway 74 for about two days, but the highway opened early this morning, according to Caltrans.

Three residences, three mobile homes, 11 outbuildings, a cabin, a commercial building, workshop, garage and four to six vehicles were destroyed and one residence was damaged since the blaze broke out. The destroyed residences and mobile homes were in Bonita Springs, as was the damaged residence. The commercial building, workshop, garage and cabin were in Pine Springs.

The fire was burning at a "rapid" rate through timber and chaparral in"very steep and rugged terrain," a Forest Service statement said.

Evacuation orders were issued for Andreas Canyon Club, an area of 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive in an unincorporated area south of Palm Springs on Tuesday night, according to the Forest Service reported.

Late Monday afternoon, two dozen area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita Vista.

Camp Ronald McDonald and Camp Joe Sherman were voluntarily evacuated because of health concerns about air quality.

Evacuation centers were opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet High School, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Animal Center, the Forest Service reported.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, and all of the trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area were closed, as well. Hurkey Creek County Campground and hiking and mountain biking trails out of the campground and May Valley were also closed.

A total of 2,210 firefighters, 128 engines, a DC-10 and nine other fixed- wing aircraft, 16 helicopters, eight water tenders and 12 bulldozers were deployed as of this morning, according to the Forest Service.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Tuesday, warning Coachella Valley residents to avoid vigorous outdoor activity and advising people to stay indoors with windows and doors closed. Air quality in the area will be unhealthful for sensitive groups, such as asthma sufferers. To view more photos of the fire, go to: http://idyllwildtowncrier.com/


MOUNTAIN CENTER - A fire that has destroyed six homes while blackening 9,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest near Idyllwild was only 10 percent contained today, authorities said, and smoke generated by the blaze was filling parts of the Coachella Valley.

The so-called Mountain Fire broke out for unknown reasons in the vicinity of Highways 74 and 243 south of Mountain Center around 1:45 p.m. Monday.

By Tuesday night, it had burned 9,000 acres and was just 10 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

No injuries were reported.

According to the Forest Service, three residences, three mobile homes, 11 outbuildings, a cabin, commercial building, workshop, garage and four to six vehicles were destroyed and one residence was damaged. The destroyed residences and mobile homes were in Bonita Springs, as was the damaged residence. The commercial building, workshop, garage and cabin were in Pine Springs.

The fire was burning through timber and chaparral in "very steep and rugged terrain," the Forest Service reported.

Evacuation orders were issued for Andreas Canyon Club, an area of 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive in an unincorporated area south of Palm Springs on Tuesday night, the Forest Service reported.

Late Monday afternoon, two dozen area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita Vista.

Evacuation centers were opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet High School, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Animal Center, the Forest Service reported.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, and all of the trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area were closed, as well. The fire prompted the closure of Highway 243 between Saunders Meadow Road and Highway 74, according to officials.

A total of 2,241 firefighters, 98 engines, a DC-10 and nine other fixed- wing aircraft, 15 helicopters, six water tenders and 10 bulldozers were deployed as of Tuesday night, according to the Forest Service.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Tuesday, warning Coachella Valley residents to avoid vigorous outdoor activity and advising people to stay indoors with windows and doors closed. Air quality in the

area will be unhealthful for sensitive groups, such as asthma sufferers.


MOUNTAIN CENTER - A fire that broke out in the vicinity of Highways 74 and 243 near Idyllwild continued to rage for a second day today in steep, rugged terrain, destroying homes and other structures. The blaze, dubbed the Mountain Fire, broke out for unknown reasons in Mountain Center in the San Bernardino National Forest around 1:45 p.m. Monday. By early tonight, it had burned 9,000 acres and was just 10 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No injuries were reported.

According to the Forest Service, three residences, three mobile homes, 11 outbuildings, a cabin, commercial building, workshop, garage and four to six vehicles were destroyed and one residence was damaged. The fire was burning through timber and chaparral in "very steep and rugged terrain," the Forest Service reported.

Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, and all of the trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area were closed, as well. The fire prompted the closure of Highway 243 between Saunders Meadow Road and Highway 74, according to officials. A total of 1,736 firefighters, 76 engines, seven air tankers, 11 helicopters, nine water tenders and six bulldozers were deployed today, according to the Forest Service.

Late Monday afternoon, two dozen area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita Vista. Evacuation centers were opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and Hemet High School, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Animal Center, the Forest Service reported. A group from the Pine Springs Church Camp was evacuated from the Lake Hemet Campground to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hemet, Mark Annas of the Riverside County Fire Department said. Zen Mountain Center was also evacuated, but there was no damage there, according to the Forest Service.

The blaze wasn't expected to threaten Palm Springs, according to the Palm Springs Fire Department. Chief John Allen said firefighters checked 21 vacant homes on the mountainside near South Palm Springs as a precaution, and 10 fire engines were ready in Palm Springs "should additional protection is needed." "There are still currently no plans to evacuate Palm Springs residents, based on current and predicted weather behavior," said Allen, who added that residents would see activity related to the fire on the mountain tonight and tomorrow.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was open today. The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory today for the valley, warning residents to avoid vigorous outdoor activity, advising people to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.


Mountain Center fire burning at 8,000 acres, 10% contained; multiple buildings destroyed

The U.S. Forest Service says three residences, three mobile homes, 11 outbuildings, a commercial building, workshop, garage, cabin and four to six vehicles have been destroyed and one residence damaged in the Mountain Fire in the Idyllwild area, which has burned 8,000 acres.


The US Forest Service has just reported that the Mountain Fire has grown to 8,000 acres with 10 percent containment.
10 a.m.

MOUNTAIN CENTER - A fire that broke out in the vicinity of Highways 74 and 243 near Idyllwild raged this morning in steep, rugged terrain after triggering the evacuations of residents, campers and animals.

The blaze was reported in Mountain Center in the San Bernardino National Forest around 1:45 p.m. Monday. By 8 a.m. today, it had scorched 4,700 acres and was only 10 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No injuries were immediately reported. The fire was burning through timber and chaparral in "very steep and rugged terrain," the forest service reported. Pacific Crest Trail was closed from Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, and all of the trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail in the area were closed as well.

A total of 650 firefighters, seven air tankers, eight helicopters, nine water tenders and six bulldozers were deployed as of today, according to the forest service. The fire prompted the closure of Highway 243 between Saunders Meadow Road and Highway 74 and damaged some structures, said Mark Annas of the Riverside County Fire Department. Late Monday afternoon, 24 area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita Vista, Annas said. Evacuation centers were opened at Hamilton High School in Anza and at Hemet High School, and evacuation centers for animals were set up at Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley and the San Jacinto Animal Center, the U.S. Forest Service reported. A group of campers from the Pine Springs Church Camp was evacuated from the Lake Hemet Campground to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hemet, Annas reported. Zen Mountain Center was also evacuated, according to the forest service.


7/16, 7 a.m. Mountain Center fire scorches 2,400 acres with 5% containment

MOUNTAIN CENTER - A fire that broke out in the vicinity of Highways 74 and 243 near Idyllwild raged this morning after triggering the evacuations of residents, campers and animals. The blaze was reported in Mountain Center in the San Bernardino National Forest around 1:45 p.m. Monday. By 1 a.m. today, it had scorched 2,400 acres and was only 5 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire prompted the closure of Highway 243 at Saunders Meadow Road and damaged some structures but, as of last night, had caused no injuries, said Mark Annas of the Riverside County Fire Department. Late Monday afternoon, 24 area homes were ordered evacuated -- 20 in the Bonita Vista housing community northeast of Lake Hemet and four at nearby Fleming Ranch -- as was the Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Bonita Vista, Annas said. Evacuation centers were opened at Hemet High School and Hamilton High School at 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza. Hamilton High School can accommodate small animals (dogs, cats, etc.). An evacuation center for animals large and small was set up at San Jacinto Animal Center, the U.S. Forest Service reported A group of campers from the Pine Springs Church Camp was evacuated from the Lake Hemet Campground to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hemet, Annas reported. A total of 424 firefighters, seven air tankers, eight helicopters, nine water tenders and six bulldozers were deployed Monday, according to the forest service.


7/15, 7 p.m. Fire


 

7 comments

Comment Profile ImageTony
Comment #1 | Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm
It's a very odd scene here in Coachella Valley! It kind of sucks. The weather is abnormal and many acres are burning. :(
Comment Profile ImageMAD
Comment #2 | Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm
I'll bet the fire was caused by some inconsiderate smoker flicking their lit cigarette out the window as so many fires are started that way. Smokers Stink!!
Comment Profile ImageCheryl Spelts
Comment #3 | Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm
Thank you for covering this fire! My Grandmother owns a home in Idyllwild, so we're very grateful for any news on the fire!
Comment Profile ImageFALLBROOK 101
Comment #4 | Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm
HEY MAD,
MAYBE THEY THRew OUT A POT PUD, THOSE TYPE OF FOLKS. SHOULD OF BROUGHT YOUR KIDS IN BONSALL.
Comment Profile Imageeast hemet
Comment #5 | Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 1:02 am
I can see the flames glow from my house at night
Comment Profile ImageWildomar Resident
Comment #6 | Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm
If the forestry service did a better job managing our public land fires wouldn't be so devastating. Fire is needed to clear old growth and promote a healthy ecosystem. If we allow small fires to run their course, wild fires will become rare.
Comment Profile ImageCheryl Spelts
Comment #7 | Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 12:54 am
Wildomar Resident, just so you know... they do controlled or prescribed burns on the mountain on an ongoing basis. And the Fire Department in Idyllwild works closely with the Forest Service. I've been to a couple of the public meetings, where representatives from the Forest Service and the various fire departments educate local residents on how to keep themselves and their homes safe, in the event of a fire. Fire will always be a threat in a forest - especially a forest in such a dry place - but the Forest Service isn't ignoring the threat, and in my opinion the residents of Idyllwild are better prepared than most Californians, thanks to their efforts.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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The Fallbrook Village News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

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760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
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