More evacuate, weird weather fears at Calif. Fire, thunderstorms possible

IDYLLWILD, Calif. (AP) - The threat of weekend thunderstorms could be a mixed blessing for crews fighting a wildfire in the Southern California mountains near Palm Springs.

hile the storm could bring much-needed moisture, it could also deliver wind, lightning and other volatile conditions that could make a tough firefight even worse. Thousands have evacuated the area.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency, freeing up more state funding and other resources to help with the protracted firefight that has already cost $8.6 million.

Residents of another 700 homes were advised to retreat to safety on yesterday as fire crews grew increasingly concerned about the possibility of unstable weather and erratic winds that could last through the weekend.

The blaze in the San Jacinto Mountains has expanded to roughly 42 square miles and was 15 percent contained,.

Some communities on the eastern edge of the fire were reopened to residents, but about 5,600 homes remained under potential threat.

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