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Mountain Fire Explodes to 22,800 Acres As Latest Official Details Released

Details from CAL FIRE:

The massive Mountain Fire in Southern California has now exploded to 22,800 acres on Thursday afternoon, and officials are fearing that the blaze could get even larger over the next several days.

Here are the latest official details from California Fire officials.  Bonita Vista – 3 mobile homes and 3 residences were destroyed, 1 residence sustained damage. Pine Springs – 1 commercial building, a workshop, garage, and cabin were destroyed. In addition to the above residences, there was a total of 11 outbuildings and 4-6 vehicles destroyed.

Total Fire Personnel: 2,985
Total Fire Engines: 228
Total Fire crews: 51
Total Airtankers: 10
Total Helicopters: 17
Total Dozers: 15
Total Water Tenders: 21

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.

Last night the fire 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 today 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 and near the community of 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. Structure protection contingency plans are being updated in all evacuated communities. On the east side of the fire, the fire continues to slowly back down the mountain as fuels become more sparse at lower elevations.

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

Road Closures:

Highway 243 is under a soft closure from Banning South to Mountain Center; Highway 74 is under a soft closure from the Cranston Fire Station near Valle Vista east to the junction with Highway 371. A soft closure is in place to allow residents access to gather items from their homes or properties.

Trail Closures:

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 909-382-2921.

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.

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.

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, 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 Centers:

  • 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 SanJacinto Animal Shelter, 581 S. Grand Ave, San Jacinto CA