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California

Mountain fire reaches 8,000 acres; more evacuations ordered

The Mountain fire near Idyllwild grew to 8,000 acres Tuesday, nearly doubling in size since a report earlier in the morning, authorities said.

More mandatory evacuations were ordered for the Andreas Canyon Club, which includes 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive, according to an update from the San Bernardino National Forest Service.

The fire, which began Monday afternoon around 1:43 p.m., was spreading rapidly through timber and chapparal in the area, according to the update.

The flames began near the junction of Highway 243 and Highway 74, then began burning through steep and rugged territory.

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There is no road access for engines or water tankers, said Lee Beyer, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

Firefighters are using eight helicopters and seven air tankers to fight the blaze, Beyer said. Crews on foot are also trying to control the fire’s progress, scraping dirt and cutting line to separate the fire from the brush, he said.

“It’s hot, it’s dry, it’s windy and its really dry brush,” he said.

The fire was 10% contained.

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The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Tuesday, warning of the potential for unhealthy air quality in areas surrounding the fire, including the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley, parts of Banning Pass and parts of the Coachella Valley.

The fire was growing largely in the northeastern direction, Beyer said, and he expected it to continue at the same fast pace until it reaches a lower elevation that is more rocky and has less fuel.

A firefighter suffered a minor injury, he said.

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Twitter: @emfoxhall

emily.foxhall@latimes.com


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