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Brush fire near Hemet burns 2,200 acres

August 28, 2009 5:57:08 AM PDT
Previously ordered mandatory evacuations were lifted Friday for 30 homes on Willowbrook Road as the fire threats subsided. The Cottonwood Fire has charred about 2,200 acres. Voluntary evacuations have been ordered for about a dozen homes near Bee Canyon.

The fire is burning away from Idyllwild, approximately one mile east of Cranston and 10 miles east of Hemet in the San Jacinto Mountains.

"Up in the mountains, it's very rugged, steep, rocky terrain that makes footing very treacherous for our crews to get in and out of there, and the heat's going to be a real problem with these crews," said Rick Griggs from Cal Fire.

The fire is only 10 percent contained since it broke out Thursday afternoon along Highway 74, which is closed due to flames from Borco Street East to Hwy 243. Additionally, three forest access roads are closed in the northwest portion of the district, including the San Jacinto Truck Trail, the Control Road and the Indian Mountain Truck Trail. Visitors to the Idyllwild area are being asked to use State Route 243 from Interstate 10.

The road closures prohibit public entry and will last until the current fire conditions subside. Wood and charcoal fires are currently prohibited across the entire district, including developed sites.

There are no reports of any structures damaged.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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