Rain Helps Firefighters Make Gains on SoCal Blaze

Posted at: 07/22/2013 10:09 AM

IDYLLWILD, Calif. (AP) - Heavy rain has helped firefighters make substantial gains against a week-old wildfire that's burned some 42 square miles in the mountains near Palm Springs, Calif.

The area received an inch and a half of rain Sunday, and fire crews now have the blaze 68 percent contained.

Some 6,000 people have been forced to evacuate the towns that dot the San Jacinto Mountains. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department has now lifted evacuation orders for the communities of Idyllwild, Fern Valley and Pine Cove, as well as several smaller communities.

Despite the rain and the expanded containment, the fire is far from extinguished. The thunderstorm that helped douse the flames also brought erratic winds and the threat of flooding, all hazardous conditions for fire crews.

Authorities have said the fire was human-caused, but they have not said whether it was accidental or intentional.

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