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Thousands Still Evacuated As Crews Struggle To Contain Cranston Fire Near Idyllwild

IDYLLWILD (CBSLA) – About 7,000 people remained under mandatory evacuation orders Friday night as firefighters battled the Cranston Fire burning in the San Jacinto Mountains, near the Riverside County community of Idyllwild.

Thousands Remain Evacuated As Crews Struggle To Contain Cranston Fire Near Idyllwild
Smoke billows from the Cranston Fire burning near Idyllwild, Calif. July 25, 2018. (InciWeb)

As of Friday night, the Cranston Fire had grown 12,300 acres and containment was 16 percent. At least five homes have been destroyed and 4,927 structures remain threatened.

More than 1,500 firefighters from several agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service and CAL Fire are battling the blaze from the air and ground and are also fighting the nearby Ribbon Fire. Overnight Thursday, the Cranston Fire was described as "very active" with an "increase in hot spots detected," according to a USFS news release.

On Friday officials with San Bernardino National Forest today announced a forest order creating the Cranston Fire Closure Area.

Three firefighters were reported injured by the U.S. Forest Service. Their condition is unknown.

The Cranston Fire broke out at around 11:40 a.m. Wednesday, east of the Cranston Fire Station off Highway 74, between Hemet and Mountain Center.

That same afternoon, a 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the blaze. Brandon McGlover of Temecula was taken into custody at about 1 p.m. Wednesday in Hemet.

On Friday, the Riverside County district attorney's office charged McGlover with starting nine fires in southwest Riverside County, including the Cranston Fire, on the same day. He faces a total of 15 felony counts, including one count of aggravated arson, five counts of arson of an inhabited structure and nine counts of arson of forest or wildland.

McGlover was being held on $1 million bail and was scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon.

The following areas remain under evacuation orders: Apple Canyon Area, Cedar Glen, Camp Scherman Girl Scout Camp, Fern Valley, Garner Valley, Hurkey Creek Area, Idyllwild, Lake Hemet Area, Mountain Center Community, Mt San Jacinto State Park and Pine Cove.

Several recreation areas in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and the San Bernardino National Forest are closed.

Paradise Corner is under an evacuation warning, meaning residents need to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.

Highway 74 is closed from the city of Hemet to Highway 371 at Paradise Corner. Highway 243 is closed from Banning to the intersection with Highway 74.

An evacuation center is in place at Banning High School.

Meanwhile, crews have made good progress on a second fire which broke out in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County.

The Ribbon Fire broke out Thursday morning near Highway 74 and Ribbonwood Drive, near the community of Pinyon Pines. It was 200 acres and 30 percent contained Friday. All evacuation warnings have been lifted. The cause is under investigation.

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