Mountain Center Fire Continues to Spread; Now at 9,000 Acres

Smoke rises from the southeast ridge of the San Jacinto Wilderness in this vantage point from Hemet. Menifee residents also felt the effects. (Photo by Joe Quinn)
The Mountain Center fire, which has been burning out of control since Thursday afternoon, has covered more than 9,000 acres and was only 10 percent contained tonight, U.S. Forestry Service officials reported.

More than 2,200 fire personnel are battling the blaze, which is spreading rapidly through chaparral and timber and has forced several evacuations. According to the USFS:

-- Three mobile homes and three residences were destroyed in the community of Bonita Vista.
-- One commercial building, a workshop, garage, and cabin were destroyed in Pine Springs.
-- An additional 11 outbuildings and 4-6 vehicles have been destroyed.

Evacuation centers have been set up at Hemet High School and Hamilton High in Anza. Highway 243 is closed between Saunders Meadow Road and the junction with Highway 74. Several hiking trails are closed, and mandatory evacuation orders are in place for 24 homes south of Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.


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