All evacuation warnings were lifted Tuesday in connection with a 400-acre wildfire that destroyed two homes in the Pinyon Pines area of the San Bernardino National Forest.
The Flats fire broke out for unknown reasons just after 11 a.m. Sunday near state Route 74 west of the Pinyon Flat campground, about eight miles south of Palm Desert, and was 60% contained as of midday Tuesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The flames on Sunday jumped the highway burning to the northeast, prompting a mandatory evacuation order for residents of Pinyon Crest, and non-mandatory evacuation warnings for the communities Pinyon Pines and Alpine Village.
All orders and warnings were fully lifted as of Tuesday morning, although fire officials warned residents that properties within the burn area may still be unsafe.
About 400 firefighters assigned to the firefight at the height of the blaze had to contend with high temperatures and rocky terrain. The forward rate of spread was halted by Sunday evening.
The flames destroyed two homes, and damaged three homes and three outbuildings, according to fire officials, who said one firefighter suffered unspecified injuries.
A lengthy stretch of SR-74 was shut down in both directions due to the fire, but was fully reopened as of midday Tuesday.
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.