Mountain Fire: Rainfall helps firefighters


Officials said significant rainfall occurred over the fire area and there was no growth in the size of the fire. They said the change in acreage is due to more accurate infrared mapping.

The fire has burned 27,332 acres and was 85 percent contained as of 6 p.m. More than 1,000 firefighters are battling the flames. Originally, over 3,000 personnel were on scene.

Crews expect to have the fire contained by Wednesday. All Evacuation Orders for communities around the fire area have been lifted.

Many residents whose homes were threatened by the fire said they were happy about the rain. But for the parts of the forest where the fire burned, flash flooding could be a problem.

"It's going to be bad for the rehab until we get some ground cover down, but for the rest of the forest, it's going to be a real good thing," said Tom Inocencio of Idyllwild.

It's especially good for a community that was evacuated for several days because of the big fire.

"This rain has been awesome. For the most part, we've had this nice, steady rain," said Idyllwild Fire Protection District Chief Patrick Reitz.

Reitz says at its closest point, the fire was just about a mile away from the town of Idyllwild.

"That's too close for comfort, quite honestly," he said. "Look around town, you will see dime-, nickel-, quarter-sized ash fallout that we had, cinders that actually made it to town."

Inside the fire station, you see thank you notes all over the place. It's the same thing all around town -- residents saying thank you.

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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