All evacuations around the Cranston Fire burning near Idyllwild were lifted Thursday as firefighters had the destructive blaze 96 percent contained.
The wildfire — which burned 13,139 acres, destroyed 12 buildings and damaged five others — is expected to be fully contained on Aug. 9. It broke out just before noon on July 25 off Highway 74 in the San Jacinto Mountains between Hemet and Mountain Center, just east of the Cranston Fire Station.
Three firefighters were injured last week battling the blaze, which authorities believe was deliberately set by a Temecula man who’s also accused of setting eight other fires.
Brandon N. McGlover, 32, was arrested near Newport Road and State Street in Hemet about 12:30 p.m. the day the fire broke out and charged two days later with 15 felony counts. He pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $3.5 million bail pending a Sept. 24 felony settlement conference.
The cost of fighting the fire has been estimated at $20 million, with the final cost projected at $23 million, officials said.
About 170 firefighters remain assigned to the fire, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Emergency management officials warned people entering previously evacuated areas to watch for charred trees, utility poles and other debris on the roads. Residents are also being advised to throw away perishable food because of the loss of refrigeration.
Some area roads remain closed.
State Route 74 is closed from Hemet to state Route 74 at Lake View Drive, and state Route 243 is closed from Lower Saunders Meadow Road to state Route 74.
Residents, business owners and employees with proof of residency, business or employment are permitted north on route 243 to the Keenwild Fire Station and west on state Route 74 to McGaugh Road in Mountain Center.
All U.S. Forest Service lands in the San Jacinto Ranger District and the adjacent Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument were ordered closed to public entry.
Several campgrounds and hiking areas within San Jacinto Mountains State Park remain closed. The public can call (909) 383-5688 for information on the closures.
Crews aimed to continue to hold and patrol all perimeter lines and suppress all heat sources within 200 feet of containment lines, according to the forest service.