'Mountain Fire' near Idyllwild reaches 1,000 acres; 5 percent contained

A photo of the
A photo of the "Mountain Fire" taken from Desert Hot Springs.
Courtesy Greg Thomas
A photo of the
A view of the Mountain Fire from Desert Hot Springs.
Courtesy Desert Stylite
A photo of the
A photo of the fast-burning "Mountain Fire"
Courtesy Holly Lindquist

Update 6:36 p.m.: 'Mountain Fire' near Idyllwild now at 1,000 acres

The U.S. Forest Service says the fire burning near Idyllwild has now reached 1,000 acres and is still 5 percent contained.

USFS spokesman John Miller says the burn area is hilly and dry with a strong chaparral component and some timber. 

"We're in the second year of a severe drought. So the fuels are dry," he said. "Which has created an environment to support the rapid spread of the fire.

The two areas evacuated have between 20 and 40 homes, Miller said. "Probably 200 people have been evacuated," he added.

"We have had reports that there are structures burning in the Bonita Vista area, but we don't have any additional information on that," he said.

Update 5:09 p.m.: Wildfire near Idyllwild burns 235 acres; 5 percent contained

A fast-moving wildfire near Idyllwild has burned around 150 acres and prompted evacuations.

The fire broke out near the intersection of Highways 243 and 74 Monday afternoon at around 1:43 p.m,, according to Riverside County fire officials. 

Officials have announced approximately 20 homes in the Bonita Vista community, and four homes near Fleming Ranch have been evacuated, along with an animal sanctuary. An evacuation center has been set up at Hemet High School (map) in Hemet.

Helicopters and air tankers have been dropping fire retardant to help stem the fire's growth. 

Southbound lanes of Highway 243 has been closed at Mountain Center and above Keenwild, the department's website said. 

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