Crews battling 4700-acre Cranston fire in Idyllwild prompts mandatory evacuations

The Cranston Fire has destroyed five homes and forced some 3,200 people to evacuate.

Officials emphasized that Yosemite wasn't in imminent danger from the fire.

The fire erupted Wednesday and rapidly spread over 7½ square miles (19 square kilometers), forcing the evacuation of the entire town of Idyllwild, other communities and youth summer camps.

The blaze (Cranston Fire) is one of the 60 major wildfires burning in the United States this week. All of Idyllwild, a quaint town surrounded by pine trees in the San Jacinto Mountains, is being evacuated.

Brandon N. McGlover, 32, of Temecula was detained Wednesday and charged with arson to wildland, the Riverside County Fire Department and Cal Fire said. He is charged with five counts of arson on a structure, five counts of arson on land and three counts of maliciously setting a fire. Other homes looked to be covered with red flame retardant.

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The weather is calm Thursday morning in the San Jacinto Mountains where the fire broke out but forecasters say temperatures will remain above normal in the 90s to 100 with low relative humidity and that there could be gusty afternoon and evening winds. Fire engines also were stationed to protect homes.

Yosemite Valley will be closed until at least Sunday, along with a winding, mountainous, 20-mile stretch of California's State Route 41 that leads into the area, Gediman said.

The last time the 7.5-mile-long (12-kilometer-long) valley was closed because of fire was 1990, he said.

By Thursday, the fire was contained approximately 10 percent.

Noah Berger reported from Yosemite; Chris Weber from Los Angeles.

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