All mandatory evacuations lifted in Apple Fire; 47-square-mile blaze still progressing toward Morongo Valley

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All mandatory evacuations were lifted Friday in the Apple Fire, which has charred more than 47 square miles in the San Bernardino Mountains after sparking last week above Beaumont.

Around 12:30 p.m. Friday, the final mandatory evacuation order in place was lifted for all areas east of Oak Glen Road, including Potato Canyon and Pine Bench roads north of the Riverside-San Bernardino county line, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

Evacuation warnings remain in effect for Forest Falls, Rimrock, Pioneertown and Morongo Valley in San Bernardino County, and in Riverside County for residents east of Potrero Road, north of Morongo Road and west of Whitewater Canyon, or east of Whitewater Canyon, north of Interstate 10, west of Highway 62 and south of the San Bernardino County line.

The San Gorgonio Wilderness remains closed to the public.

The wildfire is 30% contained after it was sparked last Friday, July 31, by a malfunctioning diesel vehicle, according to fire officials.

It’s been burning through chaparral and brush in the Banning Canyon area.

Activity has diminished along its western flank in Riverside County, and firefighters expected the containment line in the Oak Glen area to be completed Friday.

Crews were also focusing on preventing flames from spreading further toward the Morongo Valley in San Bernardino County. Good progress has also been made on the Yucaipa Ridge, reducing the threat to residents in the Forest Falls area, officials said.

So far, the blaze has consumed four homes.

More than 2,650 personnel were assigned to the firefight Friday.

Humidity and temperatures have been favorable for firefighters, but winds remain a concern.

Smoke was wafting into the Morongo Valley, and those with health conditions should stay indoors as much as possible, officials said.

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