While at the dump, I stood on a ridge behind the dumpsters and wondered at the puff of smoke that caught my eye. As the smoke grew denser, so did the flames, now leaping and spreading rapidly. I could clearly see the source of the flames as they slowly widened and lengthened as the wind fanned them. Now more than 200 yards long and nearly as wide, the flames jumped the road at the fire station while nobody there had any idea what was rapidly developing.

The mountain was on fire.

As I drove back into town, I thought what better place to inform residents of Idyllwild of the fire than Higher Grounds Coffee Shop. I stuck my head in the door and said, “I just left the dump. The mountain is on fire and it is spreading fast.” Every face had turned to see who was talking and they could clearly see that I was not joking. I went home to Pine Cove and told the wife to start packing.

By the grace of God, we were spared an evacuation order as the fire blew away from us.

We travel 243 past the fire area quite often and each time we see exactly where the fire started, where it crossed the road, and where it just exploded. Anyone driving this part of 243 can clearly see the same.

Can anyone explain to me why nothing has come to light as to why the fire started, who is responsible for starting it and who is going to pay for all the damage? Was it improperly maintained equipment? Was it a repair-person’s mistake? Either way, the property owner is the responsible party.

We are told that an investigation is still in progress and I must ask, “Why?” It would not take half a day to clearly see why and how this fire started and who is responsible. So why the delay?

Cost to fight the fire? $27 million-plus.

Who has a campaign fund that grew suddenly from an anonymous donation?

How much to buy an investigation?

Mark Mitchell
Pine Cove