Wildfire forces evacuations in the mountains south of Palm Desert

A fire truck and a police SUV with smoke in the background
Emergency personnel respond to fires in San Bernardino County on Sunday.

A wildfire erupted Sunday in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, forcing a mandatory evacuation in the mountain community of Pinyon Crest, south of Palm Desert.

San Bernardino National Forest officials said Sunday evening that the Flats fire, first reported about 11:15 a.m., was 10% contained after burning approximately 400 acres.

Firefighters had slowed the spread of the fire but were still struggling with high heat, winds and rocky terrain, the officials said.

The fire had destroyed two homes and damaged three homes and three outbuildings. One firefighter was injured.


Highway 74 was closed from its junction with Highway 371 near Garner Valley to Palowet Drive in Palm Desert.

The San Bernardino National Forest, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Riverside County Fire Department were coordinating on the blaze.

Alpine Village and Pinyon Pines were under an evacuation warning, and the Cactus Spring Trail and Pinyon and Ribbonwood campgrounds have been closed.