Temecula Grapevine

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Mountain Fire – No return for evacuees yet, Idyllwild, Fern Valley–Trails End, Morris Ranch, Camp Joe Sherman residents return home

Copyright @Navymailman via Flickr

UPDATE: 10:01 p.m. July 20, 2013

The following current update was sent via inciweb by the National Forest service:

On July 20, firefighters made tremendous progress on containing the wildfire. Estimates given by the National Forest service via inciweb show  the Mountain Fire at 27500 Acres and 49% contained.

While the terrain currently burning is listed as extreme, the threats of expansion has downgraded to medium, according to the report.

With higher humidity and lower temperatures on Saturday, firefighters made significant gains in the area above Trails End.

This morning, the Palm Springs Aerial Tram transported hand crews to fight fire along the northeastern flank of the fire.

Overnight, crews will continue to reinforce and build containment lines. The threat of increased fire behavior tonight remains high in some areas due to the heavy fuels and the lack of significant rain in this area.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Mount San Jacinto State Park remain closed because of unhealthy air quality.

Fire crews will be working around the Aerial Tramway to prepare structural defense preparations.

Changing Weather: Predicted east winds tonight bring an increased chance of rain. A flash flood warning is in place, as even relatively moderate amounts of rain can cause soil erosion in burned areas.

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


A portion of the Mountain Fire’s evacuees can breathe a sigh of relief tonight. Citizens of Trails End, Morris Ranch, and Camp Joe Sherman can return home as of 1 p.m. July 20, 2013.

Evacuation orders are still in effect for Idyllwild and Fern Valley. An Evacuation Warning also remains in place for the community of Pine Cove, according to press release by Riverside County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer, Lisa McConnell.

Residents are allowed to return to the Apple Canyon and Bonita Vista areas. As for when the Idyllwild and Fern Valley residents will be able to return home, that depends upon the weather.

Roads are reopening, as closures are lifted for Highway 74. Citizens are asked to watch out for fire crews, trucks, and bulldozers, still working in the area and to be mindful of safety of all.

Highway 243 from Banning to Idyllwild to the Idyllwild Nature Center is open to all traffic.

Road closure continues for Highway 243, still under a hard closure south of Pine Cove at the Idyllwild Nature Center to the Highway 74 junction.

Regarding residence safety and security, per McConnell, “The Riverside Sheriff’s Department is maintaining security patrols of Idyllwild, Pine Cove and surrounding communities.”

Up to the minute reports of the fire have been streaming in from Idyllwild’s newspaper, the Town Crier. Read this amazing report, with pictures on living/working conditions for the 3,300 firefighters currently stationed in Mountain Center.

With regard to the weather forecast, here is the report from the Southern California Weather Authority at 5 p.m.

Showers in Temecula this afternoon, quickly tapered off, however the weather returns tomorrow afternoon with a south east flow into the area, according to the www.SouthernCaliforniaWeatherAuthority.com 

About Ashley Ludwig

Ashley Ludwig is an Editor for Patch News, Orange County and Los Angeles. She is also an inspirational romantic suspense author.

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