Fire is much worse today. Spread now to 20,000 acres. Smoke and ash is getting really bad.
The west side of the mountain is all forested, the east side facing the deset valley is much steeper with less to burn. I'm on the desert side. All day there were tanker air drops on the higher ridges. 3000 firefighters and 16 helicopters. Tonight the mountain town of Idyllwild and camgrounds had mandatory evacuations of about 6000 people. I see the top ridges on fire tonight, fire is moving into higher elevations with thick chapparal and pine. The fire is also moving down the mountain toward Palm Springs, I'm looking from my window right now and see flames heading down into the canyons, slowly, and by luck there's almost no wind. At daybreak the helicopters will start scooping water from the golf course lake about a 1/2 mile down the street and try to save the canyon's palm oasis. This is a picture of what these look like, sacred sites of the local tribe:
Fire is no longer a potential threat to my neighborhood as it was on Tuesday where it would burn towards me from the south. That made me a bit anxious. Officials from the fire crew told us there is now no threat to the Palm Springs area except in the palm canyons where the flames burn down the mountainside, but for now that may be contained. On the flip side of the mountain the forest is burning …. and the winds continue to blow smoke and ash my way. Forecast is for monsoon thunderstorms to roll in over the next couple of days and that means high humidity and maybe some help supressing the thing. But it also means lightning strikes and new fires. And so it goes.
report came out today by investigators saying the fire was man-made
Getting close to 40,000 acres burned this afternoon, declared the worst California fire this year to date. City of Idyllwild is threatened. Many people will lose their homes. The historic Palm Springs Aerial Tramway mountain station at 8500 ft. is threatened. The fire is headed to higher elevations where all the fuel is. To the south, one report said the southern-most canyon with the old-growth palm oasis has flames approaching and is just about ready to burn. hoping the aerial retardant drops have been in that area too.
I've been watching the large helicopters all day. They have a base camp visible from my place where they hover, refill the fire retardant from large tanker trucks, then take off up the mountain. I was told they have 13 helicopters in the fight, it's been non-stop since early this morning. Fire crew says it's only 15% contained with extreme risk.
Flames visible on the mountain ridge, still lots of smoke. Wind shifted for a while this afternoon and we had short a break from it.
the historic tramway mountain station was built in 1964, accessible by the longest cable car span in the country, from the valley floor (near sea level) to 8500'. This side of the mountain facing Palm Springs is incredibly steep.
the fire map keeps getting worse. I'm on the bottom center edge of the map. The tram station is to the right of the leading edge of the fire. Idyllwild is just above the right leading edge.
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