Idyllwild, California is a small town, with fewer than 4,000 permanent residents, in the unincorporated area of Riverside County, California, with almost 2.2 million residents. Idyllwild barely has 1/500th of the county.
But our representatives are much aware of the community and the imminent threat and danger that the Cranston Fire has caused and still poses.
Local, state and federal representative, and candidates have all reached out to the community to offer help and support.
County Supervisor Chuck Washington and his staff wrote, “Know things are tough right now on the Mountain. Just want you to know we’re getting all the reports and doing what we can to make sure all resources are committed.”
On Friday, Rep. Dr. Raul Ruiz toured the fire scenes and spoke to a community meeting in Anza. While neither the Cranston nor Ribbon fires are immediate threats to Anza, he noted that the Anza Electric Cooperative has lost power. Anza residents had to use the community center for cooking, cooling and caring for children and pets during this heat wave.
He also went to the Banning evacuation center and spoke to several displaced Idyllwild residents.
The evacuation center was opened Wednesday night and hosted about 50 people. It offers food, security and cots to sleep on.
Ruiz commented on the devastating results of the fire, and praised the “incredible unity and collaboration of different agencies — local state and federal. And the incredible generosity and compassion of individuals stepping up to support others.”
Ruiz also noted that his wildfire protection legislation, which was only enacted in February, and came after the consequences of the Mountain and Silver fires in 2013, will benefit post-fire efforts to continue to protect and prevent future fires. This should make millions available to the local communities for help.
Also at the federal level, Republican Kimberlin Pelzer Brown, who is challenging Rep. Dr. Raul Ruiz, has called and is posting evacuation information and assistance, such as for animals, on her social media site.
Her staff has visited the evacuation center at Banning High School, too.
State Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Temecula), who has already toured the site, said, "After reviewing the damage and the devastation in the communities affected by the Cranston Fire, I came to the conclusion that while this fire seems to have been set by a deranged arsonist, we need to do a much better job at the state level of ensuring that electrical utilities are held responsible for doing a better job of clearing and reducing vegetation in and around their electrical wires. It is only by the grace of God that this fire or other wind events have not caused lines to fall and sparks to ignite even more fires in more densely populated areas.”
Stone is a member of the conference committee working on legislation emanating from the Northern California fires of 2017. This bill involves utility responsibilities before and during fires.
He has said, “I will work closely with SCE to do all we can to restore service soon.”
State Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R-Santee) has called, expressed concerned and has staff involved.
Farmers Insurance staff under a tent outside the evacuation center prepared to help their clients begin preparing claims for the costs of evacuation.