The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard Aqua captured this true-color image of the smoke and heat from California's Mountain Fire on July 18, 2013 at 21:00 UTC (5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT). MODIS has the ability to detect hot spots or fires and they appear red in the image. At the time of the image, the light brown smoke plume was blowing west-northwest.
The Mountain Fire started on July 15 at 1:43 p.m. near the junction of Highway 243 and Highway 74. The topography of the burning area is very steep and rugged, and the fire has been fanned by strong winds and hot, dry conditions. The fire is located in the southern portion of the San Jacinto Wilderness along the Desert Divide.
The Incident Information System called InciWeb noted that evacuations had been ordered. On July 18 there were evacuations for the Idyllwild and Fern Valley area (not including Pine Cove, Mountain Center, and Poppet Flats). Evacuations also included the San Jacinto State Park Wilderness, Forest Service Wilderness and Forest Service Campgrounds.
On July 21, a change in the weather brought some good news to the region. Heavy significant rainfall helped reduce fire intensity, allowing the evacuation orders to be lifted. At 8:00 p.m. on July 21 all evacuation centers closed as residents returned home. The communities of Idylwild, Fern Valley and Pine Cove were not damaged by the fire.
As of 10 p.m. on July 22 InciWeb reported that the fire was 85% contained, with 27,332 acres consumed. It is predicted that full containment will occur on July 24.