Rain brings good, bad to Calif. fire zone
IDYLLWILD, Calif. — A 43-square-mile wildfire above Palm Springs was 68 percent contained with help from rain, but homeowners are in danger of a new threat: mudslides.
“It's pretty much in the smoldering category right now,” Forest Service spokesman Lee Beyer said. “There's no moving fire.”
The rain was beneficial for dousing flames, but powerful downpours raise the potential for flooding and mudslides in recently burned areas, prompting authorities to issue a voluntary evacuation warning for about 20 homes several miles southeast of Idyllwild.
With rain in the area “it has the potential to be more serious,” Beyer said. “If it's raining hard now, it's going to be bringing the mud down in a very short time.”
Thousands of evacuees were allowed back home Sunday as a thunderstorm dumped up to 2 inches of rain on portions of the week-old fire.
About 1,900 firefighters were assigned, down from some 3,300 at the fire's height, and more will be removed as the fight winds down, Beyer said.
More storms are expected in the next couple of days — and that could prove a mixed blessing, he said.
“Light rains are good; heavy rains create mud flows,” Beyer said. “Thunderstorms obviously have lightning with them. That's always a safety concern when you have people up on those exposed ridges.”
Crews also must watch out for possible falling burnt trees, he said.
Some 6,000 people fled the idyllic little towns that dot the San Jacinto Mountains between Palm Springs and Hemet after the fire broke out July 15 and quickly raged across the heavily wooded area. Twenty-three structures, including the seven homes, were destroyed. There were no reports of injuries.
Authorities have said the fire was human-caused but wouldn't say whether it was accidental or intentional.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘12 Days of Christmas’ items top $34K, up 0.6 percent
- New Navy destroyer Zumwalt’s seaworthiness questioned before sea trials
- Pot doctors in medical marijuana states push boundaries with marketing
- Iraq War veteran, mother of 2 slain in Colorado clinic rampage
- Upstate New York town threatened by Arizona man in online post, reports say
- Foreign policy expert: Obama administration should create Syria safe areas
- Scandals leave Oklahomans in dark
- Chicago police videos of black teen McDonald’s death lack sounds; protests planned for ‘Black Friday’
- Disability claim waits grow alongside swelling caseloads for judges
- Feds tell railroads they must meet deadlines for lifesaving technology
- Hawaii confronts dengue fever cases