Cranston Fire prompts mandatory evacuations in Riverside County's Idyllwild, 600 homes threatened; arson suspected

IDYLLWILD, Calif. -- A brush fire erupted in the San Bernardino National Forest Wednesday, prompting evacuations in Idyllwild, where 600 homes were threatened.

The fire continued to spread rapidly amid a powerful Southern California heat wave. By late afternoon, it had spread to 1,200 acres with 0 percent containment, according to fire officials.

Our sister station Eyewitness News in Los Angeles has learned that the fire was believed to be intentionally set, and a person has been detained for questioning.

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The rapidly spreading blaze, dubbed the Cranston Fire, ignited around noon. The fire burned near Highway 74 between Hemet and Mountain Center, according to San Bernardino National Forest officials. It later jumped Highway 243 as it continued to spread.

Authorities told Eyewitness News that approximately 600 homes were threatened by the blaze.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for parts of southwest Idyllwild.

The following roads were closed due to the fire:

- Highway 74 between Cranston Fire Station and Lake Hemet
- Highway 243 between Pine Cove and Mountain Center
An evacuation center was set up at Banning High School, 100 W. Westward Ave. in Banning.

Camps in Idyllwild were being evacuated, including Idyllwild Arts, Camp Maranatha, Idyllwild Pines, Astro Camp, Camp Emerson, and Tahquitz Pines.

Additional evacuations were in Mountain Center along McGaugh Road and McCall Park Road.

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Temperatures in the Inland Empire were expected to reach the triple digits in some areas on Wednesday.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department opened a fire information call center for the public to get more information: (909)383-5688.

Stay with ABC7 News for the latest details on this developing story.

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