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With the Mountain Fire ravaging almost 25000 acres, now just mere miles from Idyllwild, California, burning through wild land, families remain displaced from their homes to wait, watch and pray.
The rocky terrain and challenging location are just a few of the challenges facing the fire crews–now amounting to 3,300 firefighters from across the country. Extreme heat and low humidity are also factors for those with boots on the ground. All eyes on the growing Mountain Fire, and the command putting full effort into defending the resort and artists’ community of Idyllwild. The cause of the Mountain Fire remains under investigation.
Last night, firefighters took advantage of cooler temperatures, strengthening and building upon containment lines. Still, the Mountain Fire grew by more than 1000 acres.
Yesterday, firefighters made great progress in rocky terrain and high temperatures. Though easterly winds caused fire to spread in multiple directions, the fire was held at the ridge by fire crews and aircraft. Two MAFFs (Mobile Airborne Fire Fighting System) units were deployed to great effect.
Weather, always a factor with a fire large enough to create winds and weather events of their own, is set to change this weekend. Already, humidity is on the rise, from 5% when the fire began, to 25-60% humidity expected today. The voluminous cloud of smoke has reached upper atmosphere, and there is a Pyrocumulus thunderstorm watch for Friday, July 19. With such a storm, lightning that could start more fire in this fuel driven blaze, is also a possibility.
Now, with the monsoonal moisture from Arizona feeding in, hopes are that rain will be on the way.
The fire remains active in the north above Idyllwild and south near Trails End.
To recap, The National Forest Service incident site reports:
The Mountain Fire started at 1:43 PM on July 15, 2013 near the junction of Highway 243 and Highway 74. It 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.