Friday Update: Cranston Fire Has Burned 11,500 Acres, 3% Contained; Suspect Pleads Not Guilty
[UPDATED AT 2:00pm FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2018]
Authorities today (Friday) have updated information for the Cranston Fire, burning in the San Bernardino National Forest near the mountain community of Idyllwild. As of this morning, the Cranston Fire had burned 11,500 acres, and containment was adjusted down from 5 % to 3 %. The number of personnel fighting the blaze has been boosted to nearly 1,400, from more than 1,000 yesterday. The Incident Unified Command says 9 aircraft are working the Cranston Fire today.
Shortly after the Cranston Fire was reported midday Wednesday, authorities arrested a man suspected of having started the fire. 32-year-old Brandon Mc Glover of Temecula has been charged by the Riverside County District Attorney with 15 counts of arson. McGlover is being held on a million dollars bail. [UPDATE: The Press-Enterprise is reporting that, in his first court appearance today, McGlover entered pleas of not guilty on all counts. The suspect's bail was increased to $3.5 million.]
Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Riverside County, which will aid local authorities in getting state and federal resources to help pay for the fight against the blaze.
At last report, the Cranston Fire had destroyed 5 homes. Nearly 5,000 structures remain threatened by the blaze. 6,000 people have been evacuated from the mountain communities along Highways 243 and 74. Highway 74 is closed from Lake Hemet to Highway 243 in Mountain Center, and Highway 243 is closed from the 10 Freeway in Banning to Highway 74 in Mountain Center. Residents who live in areas between Poppet Flats and Pine Cove must prove they live in the area to get past the roadblocks.
All campgrounds in the area have been closed and evacuated. Authorities in Palm Springs yesterday ordered the closure of the Palm Springs Ariel Tramway until further notice. The Cranston Fire is burning several miles south of the tram’s mountain station on Mt. San Jacinto, but an abundance of caution – and a lot of smoke hanging in the air above the Coachella Valley – prompted the tram’s closure.
There is another fire reported burning southwest of the Cranston Fire. The so-called Ribbon Fire has scorched about 200 acres and is 30 % contained along Highway 74 near the community of Pinyon Pines.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued a smoke advisory for the Inland Empire and the Coachella Valley, due to heavy smoke and ash coming from those mountain blazes. Temperatures in the areas where the fires are burning are expected to be in the 90s to near 100 degrees through the weekend into next week.