Evacuation orders were lifted Sunday for residents of communities near the massive Mountain fire in the mountains above Palm Springs.
Firefighters battling the blaze, which has been burning since Monday, were helped Sunday by early-morning thunderstorms that dropped about 1.5 inches of rain on northern parts of the 27,000-acre fire. Because of the rain there was no significant growth of the fire in that area, said Candy Lupe of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Authorities said the fire, which has destroyed or damaged several homes and other structures, was 49% contained.
Residents and business owners of Idyllwild and Fern Valley can return to their homes and businesses after getting a pass at an evacuation center, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Norma Bailey. Details are available on the U.S. Forest Service incident information website.
Visitors and the general public will be allowed to enter the evacuated areas after 11 p.m.
An evacuation warning for the community of Pine Cove was also lifted, officials said.
Firefighters expect more thunderstorms throughout the day. Though the weather has been helpful, the possibility of flash floods had forced some fire personnel who had been stationed along the fire line to retreat, Lupe said.
According to the National Weather Service, the chance of thunderstorms in the Palm Springs area will continue until Tuesday night. A flash flood watch has been issued and is in effect until Sunday night at 8 p.m.
In the Los Angeles metro area, a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms will remain until Tuesday evening.
“Any rain over the metro area would be fairly light,” said Ryan Kittel, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.
The forecast means the possibility of flooding in Los Angeles County, especially over the San Gabriel Mountains and the eastern part of the Antelope Valley, but no flash flood watches have been issued. The weather should start to dry out by Tuesday.
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