Mountain Fire Burns 27K Acres; Still 15% Contained

IDYLLWILD, Calif. (KTLA) — Firefighters were working around the clock on Friday to contain the massive Mountain Fire burning in the San Jacinto Mountains.

The fire has burned 27,179 acres and was still just 15 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

New evacuations were recommended late Friday morning for Pine Cove. Residents were told to prepare for an evacuation order.

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Firefighters were battling the Mountain fire from the ground and the air.

Mandatory evacuations remained in place for Idyllwild, Fern Valley and Trails End at the north end of Morris Ranch Road, Forest Service officials said.

The evacuation notice also included the San Jacinto State Park Wilderness, Forest Service Wilderness and Forest Service Campgrounds.

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

Some evacuations were lifted on Thursday for lifted for two areas no longer threatened by flames.

Residents in the Apple Canyon and Bonita Vista areas were allowed to return to their homes, and Highway 74 was open to traffic.

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

The blaze broke out at 1:43 p.m. on Monday near the junction of Highway 243 and Highway 74.

It was burning east of Mountain Center and Apple Canyon, in steep, rugged terrain in the southern portion of the San Jacinto Wilderness along the Desert Divide.

The blaze has destroyed 23 structures, including seven residences during the first day of the fire, officials said.

Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries. No injuries to civilians were reported.

More than 3,300 personnel were assigned to the fire on Friday, aided by 19 helicopters and 10 fixed-wing aircraft, including one DC-10.

Aerial attacks using water and fire retardant were expected to continue to keep the fire from expanding toward communities, according to an update from the Forest Service.

Fire crews were working to build containment lines and provide structure protection to residences impacted by the fire.

Steep terrain continued to be a challenge for firefighters, officials said. Thunderstorms were also possible on Friday afternoon, which could cause erratic winds.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. Authorities on Friday pulled back on earlier reports that the blaze was man-made.

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

Additionally, the South Coast Air Quality Management District issue a smoke advisory Thursday for areas including Hemet, Anza and parts of the Coachella Valley.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at Beaumont High School, located at 39139 Cherry Valley Blvd.

Another Red Cross shelter was open at Hemet High School, located at 41701 E. Stetson Ave. in Hemet.

A third shelter was set up at Hamilton High School, at 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza. It can also accept small animals.

Large and small animals can also be brought to the San Jacinto Animal Shelter, located at 581 S. Grand Ave. in San Jacinto.

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