A California man has been taken into custody on suspicion of arson, as firefighters have contained just 5 percent of the blaze that started Wednesday in the Idyllwild area in Riverside County.
The fire has forced evacuations of more than 2,100 homes. The Ferguson Fire in central California, which has grown to more than 43,200 acres, has forced parts of the nearby Yosemite National Park to close until at least Sunday.
The hot and largely dry weather will further enhance the risk of new blazes into the beginning of August.
The weather was calm Thursday morning in the San Jacinto Mountains where the fire broke out but forecasters stated that temperatures will stay above normal in the 90s to 100 with low relative humidity and that there could be gusty afternoon and evening winds. Animals could be evacuated to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus at 581 S. Grand in San Jacinto. An estimated 600 homes were threatened.
- Fire crews are battling a fast-moving brush fire that erupted near Idyllwild on Wednesday, prompting the evacuation of residents and sending a massive smoke rising near Lake Hemet.
A fire official says an explosive wildfire in Northern California has killed a bulldozer operator as he fought to contain the blaze and injured three firefighters.
Some recreation areas in the National Forest had also been shuttered.
Evacuations were ordered in Mountain Center along McGaugh Road and McCall Park Road after the fire jumped Highway 243 near Idyllwild Grinding Facility, the Forest Service said via Twitter. "We live in a handsome town", Achtner told the newspaper.
All guests had also left Tahquitz Pines, which said on Facebook that the property was clear.