Highway 243 reopened between Idyllwild and Banning as San Gorgonio fire contained at 75%

BANNING – Firefighters said they stopped the advancing flames at the Gorgonio Fire, and reopened state Highway 243 between Idyllwild and Banning today.

The fire was 75 percent contained and kept at 650 acres, the same estimated burn area as Saturday night, Riverside County fire officials said at midafternoon.

As more than 400 firefighters stopped the forward spread of the flames at 1:45 p.m., California Highway Patrol officers started escorting motorists along the highway. Those CHP escorts will remain in effect until further notice, the Riverside County Fire Department reported.

No structures were threatened and no evacuations were called for during the fire, which burned in an area prone to brush fires. It was reportedly threatening to move to the east, along the unoccupied foothills south of Banning.

Highway 243 had remained closed south of Banning for about 22 hours, with traffic to Idyllwild detoured via routes 79 and 74 through San Jacinto. Northbound drivers hoping to go down from the mountain area had been stopped at Poppet Flats Road, the CHP reported.

The weather forecast for today called for cool, cloudy and humid skies, with highs near 70 and winds from the southwest of 15-20 mph, and gusts up to 25 mph.

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