Rain slows massive Southern California wildfire

By REUTERS
July 22, 2013 05:15

LOS ANGELES - Heavy rains overnight helped slow a massive Southern California wildfire that had threatened the town of Idyllwild, a community about a mile (1.6 km) above sea level known for its hiking trails, rock climbing and arts and music scene.

Evacuation orders for Idyllwild and nearby Fern Valley were lifted late Sunday morning, and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service said tourism businesses were expected to re-open by evening.

"Today the residents and business owners were able to go back home and tonight they'll open Idyllwild back up to all visitors so we can start business as usual and let people come up to that beautiful little community," spokeswoman Norma Bailey said.

The so-called Mountain Fire was 49 percent contained by Saturday night, up from 25 percent earlier in the day and 15 percent on Friday, Bailey said.

The blaze has burned across more than 27,000 acres (11,000 hectares) of dry brush and timber and destroyed seven residences since it broke out last Monday.


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