A 400-acre wildfire that destroyed two homes and prompted mandatory evacuations in the Pinyon Pines area of the San Bernardino National Forest was 30% contained Monday morning.

The “Flats Fire” was reported about 11:15 a.m. Sunday near state Route 74 west of the Pinyon Flat campground, about eight miles south of Palm Desert, and flames soon jumped the highway burning to the northeast, according to U.S. Forest Service.

As of Sunday evening, firefighters had halted the forward rate of spread, “but high heat, winds and rocky terrain will continue to present challenges for firefighters this week during a heatwave,” forest service officials warned.

The flames destroyed two homes, and damaged three homes and three outbuildings, according to officials, who said one firefighter suffered unspecified injuries.

A mandatory evacuation order remains in place for residents of Pinyon Crest. Evacuation warnings were also issued for the nearby communities of Pinyon Pines and Alpine Village.

SR-74 was shut down in both directions between state Route 371 near Garner Valley and Palowet Drive in Palm Desert, and the public was asked to avoid the area. Residents with valid identification were being allowed in areas not under mandatory evacuation.

An evacuation center was set up at Idyllwild Elementary School, 26700 state Route 243.

Small animals can be taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, 72050 Petland Place, and both large and small animals can be broughtto the Riverside County Department of Animal Services facility in San Jacinto, 581 S. Grand Ave.

The blaze sparked just as a ridge of high pressure began to move over the Southland, bringing temperatures 15 to 20 degrees above average, low humidity and elevated fire danger.

According to the National Weather Service, valleys, mountains and desert slopes will be most susceptible to fires in the afternoons and evenings, as relative humidity drops to single digits and temperatures reach triple digits in the Inland Empire.

“These elevated fire weather threats while not critical, will be greatest Tuesday through at least Friday,” the NWS said.

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