IDYLLWILD, Calif. - California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for the mountains above Palm Springs, 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 Friday as fire crews grew increasingly concerned about the possibility of unstable weather and erratic winds that could last through the weekend.
The voluntary departures by people in Pine Cove, on the fire's western flank, came in addition to mandatory evacuations involving 6,000 others who spent a third day away from home as the fire spread in three directions.
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.