Residents of tiny Morongo Valley were put on evacuation alert Monday as a runaway wildfire, whipped by sporadic summer winds, loomed closer to the San Bernardino County desert community, the state Department of Forestry said.
About 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, started Friday by an overheated electrical cord being used to charge a tractor battery in Riverside County near Cabazon. Throughout the weekend, the fire burned mostly rugged terrain in sparsely inhabited areas, destroying a trailer, two small buildings and several vehicles.
By Monday the blaze--which officials estimated was only 50% contained--had scorched 23,300 acres in Riverside and San Bernardino counties and had moved about three miles northwest of the unincorporated community of Morongo Valley, about 20 miles northwest of Palm Springs.
San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies went door to door Sunday night and Monday, warning most of the community's 2,500 residents to gather important papers and belongings and be ready to evacuate.