The fire continued to spread rapidly amid a powerful Southern California heat wave. By early evening, it had spread to 4,700 acres with 5 percent containment, according to fire officials.
Authorities arrested a 32-year-old man from Temecula, identified as Brandon N. McGlover, for allegedly setting multiple fires in the area, including the Idyllwild blaze. He was booked on five counts of arson.
The rapidly spreading blaze, dubbed the Cranston Fire, ignited around noon. The fire burned near Highway 74 between Hemet and Mountain Center, according to San Bernardino National Forest officials. It later jumped Highway 243 as it continued to spread.
Authorities told Eyewitness News that approximately 600 homes were threatened by the blaze. At least five homes were destroyed.
VIDEO: Authorities detain possible arson suspect in connection with Cranston Fire
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for all residents southeast of Highway 243 as well as all of Idyllwild, Apple Canyon, Hurky Creek, Bonita Vista, Lake Hemet campgrounds and Fern Valley.
Camps in Idyllwild were evacuated, including Idyllwild Arts, Camp Maranatha, Idyllwild Pines, Astro Camp, Camp Emerson and Tahquitz Pines.
Additional evacuations were in Mountain Center along McGaugh Road and McCall Park Road.
More than 2,100 homes and 3,200 people were evacuated, in addition to summer camps in the area.
#CranstonFire evacuations expanded to all of Idyllwilld, Pine Cove and Fern Valley. Leave immediately.— San Bernardino National Forest (@SanBernardinoNF) July 25, 2018
The following roads were closed due to the fire:
- Highway 74 between Cranston Fire Station and Lake Hemet
- Highway 243 between Pine Cove and Mountain Center
An evacuation center was set up at Banning High School, 100 W. Westward Ave. in Banning. Animals could be evacuated to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus at 581 S. Grand in San Jacinto.
Power outages were also reported, with about 3,800 customers in the Idyllwild area without electricity. Updates were available from Southern California Edison.
Temperatures in the Inland Empire were expected to reach the triple digits in some areas on Wednesday.
San Bernardino National Forest officials opened a fire information call center for the public to get more information: (909)383-5688.