A massive fire spread farther across the mountains above Palm Springs on Saturday as several thousand firefighters battled to protect the tourist tram, Idyllwild and other small towns from flames that were raging up and down the steep slopes nearby.
By noon, the Mountain fire had raced across more than 27,000 acres of timber and chapparal, moving north toward San Jacinto Peak, elevation 10,834 feet. The fire was 25% contained.
Subtropical moisture moving in from the Las Vegas and Phoenix areas elevated humidity above 25% on Saturday morning. “That’s a good thing,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Steve Gut.
But thunderstorms forecast for Saturday afternoon posed a threat of worsening fire conditions in the rugged mountain terrain. “That could cause erratic winds and downdrafts on the fire, which could possibly increase the fire activity -- which could spread the fire in all directions,” Gut said.