2:33 P.M. UPDATE: A promotional video about Idyllwild: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlCKH5O_T9o

8:40 A.M. UPDATE:

Idyllwild Fire welcomes residents back to town, Sunday afternoon. Another flag was near the Fire Station and Highway 243.

Monday morning began with sunny skies over Idyllwild and the noise of traffic moving through town. As people began to return to homes and businesses, thoughts of gratitude were dominant besides the need to recover from the forced four-day leave of absence.

A collage of Idyllwild Sunday afternoon, July 21. Photos by Les Walker

Patrons of Higher Grounds joined owner Mimi Lamp in creating a large montage of grateful comments.

Higher Grounds welcomes and thanks all. Monday, July 21
Close up of some of the comments on the Higher Grounds sign.
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Ken Dahleen is trying to organize a special event around this week’s summer concert, featuring Sherry Williams.

Jazz in the Pines plans to thank the firefighters next month. "All firefighters and EMT's are invited to attend Jazz In the Pines either or both days FREE. They'll need proper ID's, but that's it. We wanted to show our appreciation of all they have and are doing," wrote Jazz Chair Marsha Lytle.

As of Sunday evening, the Incident team reported the Mountain Fire has burned 27,279 acres thus far and containment was 68 percent. The fire behavior has changed considerably. "Smoldering fire with isolated hot spots. Fire Spread Minimal," the Incident Team reported Sunday evening. The Monday morning report has not yet been released.

From a peak of nearly 3,500 personnel, the current effort is now 1,861 firefighters and support, while costs have passed the $20 million threshold.

The National Weather Service says the chance of showers and thunderstorms today on the Hill is nearly 80 percent, diminishing to 30 percent tomorrow.

Besides fighting the Mountain Fire, the San Bernardino National Forest had nine lightning strikes yesterday. All were minor, such as a single tree snag, and in areas north of I-10.