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Mountain Fire nears full containment in San Bernardino National Forest

Smoke from the Mountain Fire burning in Riverside County is seen on Saturday, July 20, 2013.
July 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Mountain Fire that scorched more than 27,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest is nearing full containment.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the blaze was 91 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon. Full containment was expected on Friday, July 26.

The fire has burned 27,531 acres. Officials had previously called the acreage at 27,332 acres, but they said there was no growth in the size of the fire. Authorities said the change in acreage is due to more accurate mapping.

Over the last few days, the burn area received between 1/2 to 2 inches of rain, which has helped the firefight. The National Weather Service has predicted a brief dry spell in the coming days. Fire officials say this can cause the fuel in the forest to smolder, resulting in smoke. However, authorities say the smoke does not pose a threat.

Though the flames are mostly dead, crews are continuing to mop up and patrol the area.

The blaze began Monday, July 15 at Mountain Center. All Evacuation Orders for communities around the fire area have been lifted. However, all Forest Service campground and day-use areas located along Highway 243 are closed.

Also, the San Jacinto Wilderness, San Jacinto State Park Wilderness and all hiking and mountain biking trails out of the Hurkey Creek County Campground area and the May Valley area are closed.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation but authorities say the wildfire was "human-caused." The total cost of the fire to date is $21.6 million, fire officials say.


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