Thousands of residents have been evacuated from Idyllwild, Fern Valley, the San Jacinto Mountains and surrounding areas as a wildfire grows to 22,800 acres (35 square miles) in the mountains of Riverside County. 6,000 have left their homes, and residents in 1,900 other homes have been warned that they need to be ready to leave at any minute. Firefighters stopped at the door of each home to inform residents of evacuations and threatened areas. Thus far, $4.5 million has been spent fighting the blaze.
Evacuated areas include 4,100 residences (such as hotels, cabins and condos) and 2,200 houses. Public areas that were evacuated include Mount San Jacinto State Park, a camp for special needs children and a Girl Scout camp. The camps were evacuated because of air conditions. Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, Incident Commander, reported, “The fire is moving pretty fast and we’re getting such strange winds and weather that they’re changing on us frequently. We’re erring on the side of caution to get people out as soon as we can.”
The wildfire started on Monday afternoon at 1:45 pm. What ignited the fire is unclear. It started in Mountain Center in Riverside County and was as large as 30 square miles on Wednesday. Hot temperatures, draught and dry conditions are contributing to the growth of the fire. The area, which has not experienced a wildfire in 35 years, is extremely dry. The fire is too intense for firefighters to stop; it is currently contained by 15%. The steep terrain and high winds also make the fire difficult to stop.
Residents who have been evacuated are encouraged to stay at a hotel or the homes of friends and family. Additionally, the American Red Cross has sent up evacuation centers at local high schools. Other areas under mandatory evacuation orders include Bonita Vista, Andreas Canyon Club, Zen Mountain Center and Pine Springs.
The team fighting the fire includes 2,958 personnel, 17 helicopters, 228 engines, 51 hand-crews, 15 dozers, 21 water-tender and 10 fixed wing aircraft. The fire has caused no fatalities; three firefighters have sustained minor injuries. Personnel have enforced soft road closures of portions of Highway 74 and Highway 243.
Meanwhile, the fire is growing on two different fronts: one portion of the fire is moving northeast to Palm Springs and the other portion is heading east to Palm Desert. The flames of the fire measure 40 to 60 feet tall. Thus far, 23 buildings have been destroyed or damaged by flames. The U.S. Forest Service reported that one house was damaged and three houses, three mobile homes, one garage, one cabin, 11 outbuildings, six cars, one commercial building and smaller buildings were destroyed.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a fire due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer. The legal team at AA Accident Attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries, your damaged property, expensive medical bills and wages lost if you spent time away from your job because of the accident. At AA Accident Attorneys, we have more than 40 years of collective legal experience and have recovered over $150,000,000 for our clients.
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