Saturday was a good day for firefighters battling the Cranston Fire. The fire lines were strengthened, and opportunities for fire spread are becoming fewer.Sunday was better. Containment increased from 29 percent to 57 percent and the fire's size remain unchanged.

Consequently, the mandatory evacuations were lifted in almost all areas. “Residents of Pine Cove, Fern Valley, Cedar Glen and portions of Idyllwild outside of the fire perimeter” were permitted to return today, Sunday, about 10 a.m. The Idyllwild limitations are mostly along Double View Drive, which is adjacent to the edge of the fire. Only Highway 243 from Banning was opened for returning residents.

Saturday evening the evacuations of Garner Valley south of Morris Ranch Road were lifted.

Mandatory evacuations for residents of Mountain Center, Hurkey Creek, Mt. San Jacinto Mountain State Park and Garner Valley north of Morris Ranch Road remain in place as of Sunday afternoon.

As of Sunday morning, the fire’s size was 13,130 only 18 more than Saturday.

Pockets of heat within the Cranston Fire boundaries. infrared detection identify these areas of Sunday morning.
Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

At the command meeting on Sunday, the team leaders were pleased with Saturday’s results and thought “everything went well.” The South Ridge area had been strengthened. Mop up efforts were continuing in Mountain Center and the Incident Management Team expected some continued burning and perhaps fire growth near Flemming Ranch, as well as the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms and winds.

The objectives included keeping the fire east of the North Fork River and west of the Desert Divide, north of the South Fork River and south of Idyllwild. The number one priority is “Stop the spread.”

Much of Sunday’s work will be accomplished by “boots on the ground,” although the team still has one air tanker and nine helicopters. But some of the firefighters are already being demobilized from the Cranston Fire to head north to help fight the raging Carr Fire near Redding.

Although power has been restored to much of the evacuated areas, Southern California Edison crews are active today replacing damaged poles. A fleet of trucks and workers were gathering early this morning in Mountain Center to deploy through out the Hill.

Southern California Edison electric pole in the Cranston Fire area. Photo by Steven King

Idyllwild Assistant Chief Mark LaMont expressed the feelings of Hill residents when he told the entire team, “You have the thanks and gratitude from the people who call this home.”

The IMT and the County Health Department have already issued food advisories to people returning. Since the power was off for several days, food in the refrigerator may be cool or cold now, nevertheless it probably warmed up and could be unhealthful to consume. Notes were posted Saturday about this warning.

The Transfer Station is open and will be open seven days this week for people to bring bad food or fire debris for disposal.

Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz expressed the Department’s gratitude for all the food donations, but he recommended that further kindness is not necessary. He suggested “considering friends and neighbors who have lost their food supply" or the food places in and around Idyllwild. He also suggested consideration for the Red Cross or Salvation Army who supply the evacuation centers.

On Friday, July 27, San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor Judy Noiron closed the entire San Jacinto Ranger District for use until further notice.