UPDATED Saturday 16th at 0600
The Bonita Fire is under control (officially 20% contained) and no longer a threat to spread further. Final estimated acreage is 715 acres burned. All road closures and evacuation orders have been lifted.
UPDATED Friday 15th at 1230
All road closures in the area of the Bonita Fire have been lifted, with the exception of Highway 74 from Mountain Center to Lake Hemet. This section of highway is reduced to one lane with law enforcement escorts.
UPDATED Friday 15th at 0930
The raging Santa Ana wind has dropped, the air attack has been greatly scaled back, and it appears that the advance of the fire has been halted. It looks like its now largely a case of mopping up the dozens of hotspots. I would estimate final acreage burned may be 1000+.
Living Free has escaped a close fire unscathed yet again. The meadow immediately south of the animal sanctuary burned, literally to within a hundred yards of some buildings. A huge fire crew presence along Highway 74 just south of the Living Free entrance has ensured that the fire didn’t cross to the west side of the highway.
UPDATED Friday 15th at 0840
The Bonita Fire appeard to have started about 0.2 mile east of the junction of Bonita Vista and May Valley roads. It has burned about 0.5 mile west along Bonita Vista Road, including throughout the meadows at its junction with May Valley Road (which previously burned in both the 2013 Mountain and 2018 Cranston fires!) before descending into Johnson Meadow just east of Mountain Center.
Air attack is currently doing their typically remarkable job, focused around the Johnson Meadow area. At least four water-dropping helicopters are making runs back-and-forth to Lake Hemet. There are three tankers dropping Phos-Chek, including one large DC-10 type, plus at least two spotter planes.
A current focus of retardent drops are the closest flames to Idyllwild, about 1.8 miles down May Valley Road from its start at Cowbell Alley.
UPDATED Friday 15th at 0600
There is an active 600 acre fire in the vicinity of Mountain Center. The fire started near the junction of Bonita Vista and May Valley roads (both dirt USFS roads) overnight. Mountain Center has been evacuated.
Highway 243 is closed between Idyllwild and Mountain Center at Saunders Meadow Road, and Highway 74 is closed from Strawberry Creek Road (above Hemet) to Morris Ranch Road (Garner Valley). We have had wild Santa Ana winds overnight, which are continuing this morning.
More to follow. Stay safe everyone.