Cranston Fire 92 Percent Contained; All Evacuations To Be Lifted Today

IDYLLWILD (CNS) - All evacuations around the Cranston Fire burning near Idyllwildwill be lifted at 8 a.m. today and anyone who lives, owns a business or works in the evacuation area will be escorted by authorities and allowed on parts of highways 74 and 243.

Residents and workers will need proper identification, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The escorts are being used for the safety of Southern California Edison crews, which are restoring power, and for crews replacing guardrails and signs on the highways, the Press Enterprise reported.

The weekold wildfire -- it has burned 13,139 acres, destroyed 12 buildings and damaged five others -- is 92 percent contained, with full containment expected on Aug. 9.

Nearly 600 personnel were still battling the fire, which began just before noon last Wednesday off Highway 74 in the San Jacinto Mountains between Hemet and Mountain Center, just east of the Cranston Fire Station. The cost of fighting the fire has been estimated at $20 million, with the final cost projected at $23 million, officials said.

Emergency management officials warned people entering previously evacuated areas to watch for charred trees, utility poles and other debris on the roads. Residents are also being advised to throw away perishable food because of the loss of refrigeration.

All U.S. Forest Service lands in the San Jacinto Ranger District and the adjacent Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument were ordered closed to public entry for 30 days.

Three firefighters were injured last week battling the blaze, which authorities believe was deliberately set by a Temecula man who's also accused of setting eight other blazes.

Brandon N. McGlover, 32, was arrested about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday near Newport Road and State Street in Hemet and charged two days later with 15 felony counts. He pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $3.5 million bail pending a Sept. 24 felony settlement conference.

Several campgrounds and hiking areas within San Jacinto Mountains State Park remain closed. The public can call (909) 383-5688 for information on the closures.

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