UPDATE Friday 27th July at 2010
Contrary to remarkably stubborn and ill-informed rumours, apparently spread by folks nowhere near Idyllwild, Tahquitz Peak fire lookout has not burned and is still standing strong as of 8pm this evening.
South Ridge looks as smoke-free as it has since Tuesday. However persistent hotspots evidently remain and some aerial suppression continues as I write. Barring some dramatic, unforseen change in the wind, I think its fair to say that the situation is looking at its most optimistic since this all began on Wednesday.
UPDATE Friday 27th July at 1700
Power seems to be restored to all of Idyllwild and Pine Cove. Current estimates are that it may be several weeks before power is restored to Mountain Center and Apple Canyon.
Although there is still significant helicopter activity putting water on hotspots on the east side of South Ridge, the smoke looking east from Idyllwild is the least threatening it’s been since Wednesday.
UPDATE Friday 27th July at 1450
Power starting to return to Idyllwild neighbourhoods, one of my neighbors WiFi signals just showed up on my ‘phone.
Also, Pine Cove residents with proof of a physical address north of Marion Ridge Drive are being allowed to return home by CHP via Hwy 243 from Banning.
UPDATE Friday 27th July at 1410
Power is back on in the centre of Idyllwild. Hasn’t come back in most residential neighborhoods yet, but we’re obviously heading in the right direction.
UPDATE Friday 27th July at 1330
All remains well in town. A nasty flare-up on the east side of South Ridge just over from the top of South Ridge Road has led to an amazing procession of helicopters over our house in the ladt hour, ferrying water from Dutch Flats to the blaze.
The flag at Tahquitz Peak shows a gusty south-west wind up high. It’s obviously not helping the suppression effort that the wind is shifting from day-to-day, but at least it’s not strong.
I just checked Tahquitz Peak and was dismayed to see the chapparal immediately on the south side of the Tower smouldering, literally within 100 yards of the structure. But fingers crossed, the old girl will hang in there.
Spirits in town remain high. I have a friend with a cache of a dozen bags of ice, so as long as we have enough gas to keep the generators running, there’s no reason to be drinking warm gin-and-tonics.