• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Mountain Fire explodes near Idyllwild, homes destroyed

July 16, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Firefighters on Tuesday continue to battle a brush fire near Idyllwild. About 9,000 acres have burned and mandatory evacuations are in effect.

The blaze was 10 percent contained as of 6 p.m. Several homes have been destroyed or damaged. Fire officials said three mobile homes and three other residences were destroyed in Bonita Vista. In Pine Springs, one commercial building, a workshop, garage and cabin were destroyed. Eleven outbuildings and several vehicles also were destroyed.

Winds were calm overnight and flames appeared to be burning away from structures Tuesday.

Three firefighters did receive minor injuries and are expected to be OK. More air support will be brought in, including nine helicopters and seven air tankers.

"The biggest difficulty is we've got heavy fuels, the chaparrals, and they haven't burned in quite some time," said Cal Fire Capt. Scott Visyak.

Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, with about 170 kids and 90 staff members, was evacuated Tuesday night.

The 20 homes that make up the Bonita Vista community and the four homes in Fleming Ranch have been evacuated. All 200 animals from the Living Free Sanctuary have also been evacuated and are safe. Since flames are moving away from homes, the animals will be returning to the sanctuary.

There is no word yet on when residents can return to their homes. They are encouraged to check in with the Red Cross in Anza at Hamilton High School so the Red Cross can help them with any needs.

Southbound Highway 243 is closed at Mountain Center.

The fire broke out around 2 p.m. Monday. Despite the ground and air efforts of about 400 state and federal firefighters, flames surged around 6 p.m., quadrupling the size of the blaze.

Martha Pearson was at work Monday afternoon when she looked out the window towards her daughter's day care.

"I could see flame coming up and it looked like it was probably a 20-foot wall of flame," said Pearson. "So I freaked, and I ran, and I went to get them, and we brought the kids over here to get them safe."

Evacuation centers for residents and animals have been set up:

-Hemet High School, located at 41701 East Stetson Avenue in Hemet

-Hamilton high School, located at 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza

-San Jacinto Animal Shelter, located at 581 South Grand Avenue in San Jacinto


Load Comments