IDYLLWILD (CBSLA.com) — An evacuation notice for the Idyllwild and Fern Valley area has been ordered as a brush fire burning in the Riverside County mountains grew to 19,400 acres Wednesday evening.
The Trails End community at the very top of Morris Ranch Road is under immediate evacuation notice, the Riverside County Sheriff, in cooperation with Idyllwild Fire, said.
Evacuation areas also include the State Park Wilderness, Forest Service Wilderness, Forest Service Campgrounds.
Mandatory evacuation orders are still in effect for the Andreas Canyon Club, south of Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, and for Bonita Vista, Pine Springs and the Zen Mountain Center off of Apple Canyon Road.
Camp Ronald McDonald and Camp Joe Sherman have been voluntarily evacuated due to health concerns related to air quality.
An estimated 6,000 visitors and residents are affected, CBS2/KCAL9 reports.
About 185 kids and 240 staff members were also evacuated from Camp Emerson at Boseker Scout Reservation, its director said.
The evacuation notice does not include Pine Cove, Mountain Center and Poppet Flats.
The Mountain Fire, which broke out around 1:45 p.m. Monday, is burning through chaparral and timber in extremely difficult terrain, the United States Forest Service said.
The blaze was 15 percent contained as of Wednesday at approximately 9 p.m.
In Bonita Vista, three mobile homes and three residences were destroyed. One residence sustained damage, according to the USFS.
In Pine Springs, one commercial building, a workshop, garage and cabin were also destroyed.
No structures in Zen Mountain Center were reported damaged.
In addition to those residences, a commercial building, 11 outbuildings and four to six vehicles were also among the property destroyed.
USFS said firefighters were able to defend and save a larger number of homes.
As CBS2/KCAL9’s Tom Wait reports, Idyllwild has now become a ghost town, with many residents heeding the warnings.
Evacuee Linda Lawrence said she her husband packed up what they could from their cabin Wednesday night as soon as the evacuation notice was ordered.
“I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it’s okay,” she said.
“They just said get out of the house – we’ve been running around trying to get the trailer hooked up,” evacuee Bill Sheppard said.
The American Red Cross has established evacuation centers at the following locations:
- Hemet High School, 41701 E. Stetson Avenue
- Hamilton High School, 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza
- Beaumont High School, 39139 Cherry Valley Boulevard
Small animals can be brought to an animal evacuation site set up at San Jacinto Animal Shelter, 581 S. Grand Avenue, officials said. Large and small animals can be taken to Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley.
Road closures are as follows:
- Highway 243 is under a soft closure from Banning South to Mountain Center
- Highway 74 is under a soft closure from the Cranston Fire Station near Valle Vista east to the junction with Highway 371
- A soft closure is in place to allow residents access to gather items from their homes or properties.
More than 2,900 personnel were working to fight the fire, together with 16 helicopters, ten air tankers, seven water tenders and six bulldozers.
To date, it has cost $4.5 million to battle.
Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Those interested in helping with relief efforts can visit the American Red Cross website to make a financial contribution towards disaster relief or to get information on how to volunteer in your community.