Snow fire near Palm Springs 90% contained, full containment expected this week

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PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – The Snow Fire burning northwest of Palm Springs was 90% contained Sunday as firefighters work to put out the remaining hot spots confined to pockets of remote wilderness away from residential areas.

The fire has not grown since Tuesday and has blackened 6,254 acres since igniting Sept. 17 in the 15000 block of Snow Creek Road, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Firefighters were expected to have containment lines dug around the fire’s entire perimeter by Thursday.

Officials said the high temperatures, low humidity and winds forecast for Sunday in the San Gorgonio Pass could pose a challenge for firefighters working on the fire’s southern perimeter.

The cause of the blaze has not been officially determined, although the California Highway Patrol reported that a work truck caught fire about 2:40 p.m. on Sept. 17 near Snow Creek Village, and the fire spread to nearby vegetation.

“We do know that there was a car there, but other than that, we don’t know how it happened,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman DeLyn Sieliet said.

Sieliet said Cal Fire and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department were handling the investigation.

One firefighter suffered injuries during the firefight last week, according to Sieliet. The severity of the injuries was not disclosed.

No structural damage has been reported.

The flames have spread into the San Bernardino National Forest and the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, prompting a multi- agency response.

Last weekend, the flames were threatening about 450 homes in communities near Snow Creek and Windy Point, but firefighters mitigated the threat to those areas and canceled all evacuation orders on Sept. 20. A temporary evacuation point in Cabazon operated by the American Red Cross was also shuttered at that time.

A total of 24 firefighters remain assigned to the firefight from several agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. They were being assisted by a water-dropping helicopter.