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California wildfire moves within 2 miles of Palm Springs

July 18, 2013 at 7:11 PM

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., July 18 (UPI) -- A wildfire that has burned nearly 23,000 acres in Riverside County, Calif., came within 2 miles of Palm Springs Thursday, the U.S. Forest Service said.

Forest Service spokeswoman Jeanne Pincha-Tulley told reporters Thursday the Mountain fire was 15 percent contained and California officials said the National Guard has deployed two C-130J aircraft that can carry 3,000-gallon loads of water or fire retardant, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Temperatures in the area were in the 90s again Thursday but were expected to fall somewhat by Saturday, when the forecast calls for a chance of rain.

However, National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Harrison told the newspaper thunderstorms were also possible.

"It's kind of good news, bad news," he said.

The Mountain fire has destroyed at least 23 structures.

Authorities have issued evacuation notices for Idyllwild, Fern Valley and adjacent communities, affecting about 6,000 people, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said. Evacuation orders previously were issued for Apple Canyon and the Andreas Canyon Club area south of Palm Springs.

The Times said the South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Wednesday for areas including Hemet, San Jacinto Valley, Banning Pass, Anza and the Coachella Valley because of large amounts of smoke and ash generated by the fire.

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