News Update!!: Idyllwild, CA: Wildfire near Idyllwild, California continues to burn Friday.

News Update!!: Idyllwild, CA: Wildfire near Idyllwild, California continues to burn Friday.

A wildfire name, “Mountain Fire” continues to burned 24, 818 acres with only 15 percent contained overnight Thursday in the mountains near Idyllwild, California issuing more evacuations and thousands of people to leave their community.

**** Latest News Regarding The Wildfire: ****

– Thursday afternoon, Riverside County has declared a State of Emergency due the the Mountain Fire near near Idyllwild, California.

– Evacuation Notices remain in effect and over 6,000 people have been evacuated due to the wildfire.

– The wildfire has destroyed at least 23 structures and threatens 4,100 residences and 100 commercial properties.

– The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Mount San Jacinto State Park are currently closed because of unhealthy air quality due the the wildfire.

– Smoke from the wildfire can be seen for miles all around the wildfire.

– The wildfire can be seen and ash was reported falling in Palm Springs, California.

– Thursday evening, residents have been allowed to return to the Apple Canyon and Bonita Vista areas as the threat to that area has diminished.

– During a Thursday afternoon news conference, authorities are saying that the wildfire was human caused, but do not know any specifics about what caused the wildfire. The cause of the wildfire remains under investigation to find out if this wildfire is caused accidentally or on purpose.

** Wildfire Started: **

The wildfire was reported at 1:43pm PT on Monday, July 15th, 2013 near the junction of Highway 243 and Highway 74 near Idyllwild, California.

**** Wildfire Acres and Percent Containment Information: ****

The wildfire has burned 22,800 acres and is at 15 percent contained as of 11:00pm PT on Thursday night.

The fire is 2 to 3 miles from Idyllwild, California and reportedly 2 miles from Palm Springs, California, but the city is not in any danger at this moment.

**** Assisting With Battling The Wildfire: ****

About 3,316 firefighters, 263 fire department trucks, 19 helicopters, 10 fixed wing aircraft including a DC-10, 53 hand crews, 30 water tenders, and 11 dozers.

Cooperating agencies assisting to battle the wildfire are the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, CAL FIRE, California Department of Corrections, California Department of Transportation, California Highway Patrol, Hemet Fire Department, Idyllwild Fire Protection District, Riverside County Fire Department, Riverside County Office of Emergency Services, Riverside County Sheriff Department, and San Bernardino National Forest.

Firefighters continue to fight the wildfire on the ground and with helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

Additional crews are improving contingency lines west of the fire where they may be afforded the opportunity to stop the fires advance.

The highest priority is to protect the lives of citizens in the immediate area of the blaze.

Tonight, firefighters plan to take advantage of cooler temperatures by continuing to strengthen and build upon containment lines. 

**** Condition of the wildfire and area around the wildfire: ****

The Mountain Fire is currently burning east of the Mountain Center and Apple Canyon Areas. It is burning in very steep and rugged terrain in the southern portion of the San Jacinto Wilderness along the Desert Divide and in the Apple Canyon and Bonita Vista Areas.

Wednesday night, the wildfire settled down enough to allow fire crews to attack the south flank of the fire directly.

On the north flank, crews made extraordinary effort building line in steep terrain toward South Peak.

The night shift did a great job last night.

The weather Thursday remains hot and dry and the high level winds are coming out of the east. This change in wind direction aloft will be demonstrated by the top of smoke columns bending to the west.

The most active parts of the fire are near Red Tahquitz Peak above the community of Idyllwild, California and near the community of Trails End to the south.

These 2 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.

Structure protection contingency plans are being updated in all evacuated communities.

On the east side of the wildfire, the fire continues to slowly back down the mountain as fuels become more sparse at lower elevations.

**** Mandatory Evacuation: ****

– Late Wednesday night on July 17th, 2013, The Riverside County Sheriff in cooperation with Idyllwild Fire Protection District has issued an evacuation notice for the Idyllwild and Fern Valley area. This does not include Pine Cove, Mountain Center, and Poppet Flats. This evacuation notice also includes the San Jacinto State Park Wilderness, Forest Service Wilderness and Forest Service Campgrounds. The Trails End Community at the very top of Morris Ranch Road is under an Evacuation Notice!

– Mandatory evacuation orders are still in effect for the Andreas Canyon Club, south of Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, for Bonita Vista, Pine Springs, and the Zen Mountain Center off of Apple Canyon Road, and Trails End at the North end of Morris Ranch Road.

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

**** Evacuation Routes: ****

Highway 74 to Hemet, California.
Highway 243 to Banning, California.

Highway 74 south to Anza, Palm Desert.

**** Emergency Evacuation Shelters: ****

The American Red Cross has opened several emergency shelter because of the wildfire.

The American Red Cross evacuation centers (888-831-0031) have been welcoming residents, visitors, and others in evacuated areas

** The following is a list of several emergency shelter: **

– Hemet High School located at 41701 East Stetson Avenue in Hemet, California.

– Hamilton High School located at 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza, California. Small animals welcome.

– San Jacinto Animal Shelter located at 581 South Grand Avenue in San Jacinto, California. Small animals welcome.

– Lake Hemet Campground located at 56570 Highway 74 in Mountain Center, California. A large and small animal shelter.

**** Wildfire Damages: ****

At least 23 structures have been destroyed by the wildfire.

** The wildfire has damaged or destroyed the following: **

– In the Bonita Vista area: a 3 mobile homes and 3 residences were destroyed, a residence sustained damage.

– In the Pine Springs area: a commercial building, a workshop, garage, and cabin were destroyed.

– In the Zen Mountain Center area: No damages.

In addition to the above list of residences, there were a total of 11 outbuildings and between 4 to 6 vehicles destroyed.

It is important to note that while homes and buildings were destroyed or damaged, firefighters were able to defend and save a larger number of homes.

** It is always important to remind homeowners that homes and building with proper clearances and fuels abatements always give firefighters better opportunities to successfully defend and save those homes, especially when defending those homes in the face of an advancing fire front. **

** Cost of the wildfire: **

Total cost to date of the wildfire is at $5.5 million dollars.

**** Donation and Volunteer Information: ****

– American Red Cross:

www.redcross.org/donate

**** Wildfire Contact Information: ****

– The latest and updated information can be found by calling the following contact:

1 (909) 383-5688

The American Red Cross in Riverside, California:

1 (888) 831-0031

– The latest and updated information can be found on the following the Inciweb website address:

http://inciweb.org/incident/3516/

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** Traffic Alert!!: Road, Highways, and Interstate Closures Due To Wildfire: **

– Closures have been lifted for Highway 74. Please be advised that fire crews and apparatus will still be working in the area; proceed with care for their safety and yours.

– Highway 243 is under a hard closure south of Pine Cove at the Nature Center to the junction of Highway 74.

– There are no longer road restrictions from Banning, California into Pine Cove, California.

**** Traffic Alert!!: Mountain Trail Closures Due To Wildfire: ****

– The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Highway 74 north to Saddle Junction.

– All of the trails connection to the Pacific Crest Trail are closed as well, including South Ridge Trail, Carumba Trail, Spitler Peak Trail, Fobes Trail, and Cedar Springs.

– Hurkey Creek County Camground, and all of the hiking and mountain biking trails out of Hurkey creek and May Valley are closed.

– Individuals or groups with overnight or advance day-use permits into the San Jacinto Wilderness are advised to call the San Jacinto Ranger Station at: 1 (909) 382-2921.

– United States Forest Service areas south of Highway 74 remain open (Thomas Mountain, Santa Rosa and the Forest Service Day Use Area along Lake Hemet).

– Visitors should remain cautions when driving; Air quality is not good in some of these areas.

** Weather from the National Weather Service near the wildfire area: **

– Friday: slight chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 11:00am PT. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds. Areas of smoke. Partly sunny, High 91*F. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

– Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11:00pm PT. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds. Areas of smoke. Partly cloudy, Low 60*F. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north in the evening.

– Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11:00am PT. Areas of smoke. Partly sunny, High 87*F. Light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.

– Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11:00pm PT. Mostly cloudy, Low 59*F. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

** More weather information for the Idyllwild, California area is at the following National Weather Service website address: **

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=33.74&lon=-116.72#.UegPVuPX2_d

** Weather rader for the Idyllwild, California area is at the following National Weather Service website address: **

http://radar.weather.gov/radar.php?rid=SOX&product=N0R&overlay=11101111&loop=yes

** Our thoughts go out to everybody effected by the Mountain Fire. May we all continue to help each other during this disaster. Stay strong firefighters and everybody who is helping to battle the wildfire for protecting people’s lives and their communities. **

**** Stay tuned to ZachNews for news updates with more information regarding this news story. ****

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