After blaze, mudslide threat for 20 Calif. homes

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 22, 2013 at 11:25 pm •  Published: July 22, 2013

IDYLLWILD, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California wildfire that destroyed seven homes and threatened the mountain town of Idyllwild was sluggish after a thunderstorm drenched the timberland, and more storms doused the remaining flames on Monday.

The 43-square-mile fire above Palm Springs was 85 percent contained. It didn't move overnight and crews concentrated Monday on surrounding it on ridges thousands of feet up in the San Jacinto Mountains, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Lee Beyer said.

"It's pretty much in the smoldering category right now," Beyer said. "There's no moving fire."

The rain was beneficial for firefighters, but powerful downpours also raise the potential for flooding and mudslides in recently burned areas, prompting authorities to issue a voluntary evacuation warning for about 20 homes several miles southeast of Idyllwild.

With rain in the area "it has the potential to be more serious," Beyer said. "If it's raining hard now, it's going to be bringing the mud down in a very short time."

Thousands of evacuees were allowed back home Sunday as a thunderstorm dumped up to 2 inches of rain on portions of the week-old fire.

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