• Ch. 2 reporter's parents among evacuees from California wildfires

    By: Richard Elliot


    ATLANTA - Channel 2 reporter Richard Elliot's mother and stepfather are among the thousands being evacuated from the path of raging wildfires burning near the town of Idyllwild in Southern California.

    The fires started Monday and have burned across 35 square miles. Thousands of firefighters are battling the blaze, which is sending burning embers and billowing smoke 30,000 feet into the air.

    Authorities ordered the evacuation of several towns, including Idyllwild, earlier in the week as they monitored the direction of the fire. Idyllwild is a popular tourist destination located about an hour east of Los Angeles in the San Jacinto Mountains.

    From their cabin in Pine Cove a few miles northwest of Idyllwild, Al and Diane Thompson said they could see the smoke billowing in the sky and watched as giant tanker planes dropped extinguisher on the fires.

    Elliot's mother owns a pet boutique called Mountain Paws in Idyllwild, but she has not been able to get to the store since the evacuation. The main road into town remained closed.

    They hoped they would be able to stay, but late Friday afternoon, the Thompsons got the evacuation order so they packed up their belongings and important documents and headed down the mountain to a campground.

    They are reported to be doing well.

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