Firefighters continue to battle swelling Cranston fire near Idyllwild, which has chewed up 11,500 acres
Nearly 1,400 firefighters from across California were battling the Cranston fire near Idyllwild Friday morning, with the fast-moving, wind-driven blaze having eaten up 11,500 acres since it ignited Wednesday just before noon.
The latest estimate, from Friday morning, has the fire at only 3 percent containment, down from 5 percent the night before.
Friday’s attacks on the blaze might be fought more than usual from the air and with hand crews, because the fire had began pushing southeast toward an unpopulated, federally designated wilderness area that is inaccessible to vehicles, fire officials said. Firefighters were expected to have to deal with triple-digit temperatures.
The fire’s severity prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for the Riverside County area.
Some mountain communities were under mandatory evacuations:
- The Apple Canyon area
- Cedar Glen
- Camp Scherman Girl Scout Camp
- Fern Valley
- Hurkey Creek Area
- The Lake Hemet area
- Mountain Center
- Mt San Jacinto State Park
- Pine Cove
Despite the orders, some people in the small towns that dot the San Jacinto mountains have so far decided to remain.
“We came back to see what we can do and how to help,” said Tyla Friemoth, 22.
Her family owns the Idyllwild Chevron gas station, and on Wednesday night and all Thursday she and her family opened the doors to provide firefighters and residents fuel, snacks and other amenities.
Friday morning, Congressman Raul Ruiz, D-La Quinta, will attend a briefing and tour portions of the burned area. Ruiz will then visit families forced to leave their homes who are now staying at a Banning evacuation center.
Shortly after the Cranston fire was reported on Wednesday, July 25, Brandon N. McGlover, 32, of Temecula, was arrested and is accused of sparking the wildfire that so far has destroyed at least five homes. A possible motive has not been disclosed by law enforcement.
The fire has led to the closure of several recreational areas and trails, including the Desert View Trail, the Little Round Valley Campground and the Long Valley Trail in Mt. San Jacinto State Park; and the Dark Canyon and the Deer Springs campgrounds and the Deer Springs Trail to Suicide Rock 3E17 to 3E33, and the Devil’s Slide Trail in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Highway 74 remained closed from the Cranston Fire Station to Highway 371. Highway 243, leading into Idyllwild, also remained shuttered from Highway 74 to Banning.
Please check back for updates. This is a developing story.