Massive Mountain fire spreads; more residents flee

The massive Mountain fire burning in Riverside County has grown to 27,000 acres, prompting new evacuations.

More than 6,000 people have had to flee their homes due to the blaze, including the mountain resort of Idyllwild. The blaze stretched from there to near the Palm Springs Aerial Tram.


Despite the efforts of 3,300 firefighters and water-dropping aircraft, the fire is only 25% contained.

More than a dozen structures and several vehicles have been lost in the fire.

Rain and thunderstorms were possible Saturday, but firefighters were unsure how much that would help the battle.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Friday evening in Riverside County.

Newsom made the declaration as acting governor. He is filling in for Gov. Jerry Brown, who is vacationing in Europe.

The declaration smooths the way for state agencies to aid in the control of the blaze and subsequent recovery efforts.

The fire continues to burn Saturday north of Idyllwild, close to the community of Pine Cove, where an evacuation warning was issued.

[Updated at 8:13 a.m.: Officials said the order could become mandatory if the flames move closer. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department told residents that if they "feel threatened or may need additional time to evacuate we recommend they evacuate now." Some residents have left but others remain.

"We're going to ride it out until we see the flames," Pine Cove resident Colleen Mulhall told the told the Press-Enterprise.]