TODAY

TODAY   |  July 19, 2013

Calif. fire fight enters day 5 as blaze spreads

The blaze is moving in two directions, one end heading toward Palm Springs and the other moving towards the densely populated mountain town of Idyllwild, where firefighters are working to protect more than 2000 homes. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer.

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>> the entire country only adding to the problems for the firefighters. the incredibly hard working firefighters out in southern california .

>> that's right. right now the massive wildfire is spreading. thousands are under mandatory evacuations orders. we want to get right to nbc's miguel. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning. the so-called mountain fire is moving in two directions. on one end here in palm springs we can see flames from our location. on the other end, a more precarious situation as they march toward a mountain community. this as firefighters dig in.

>> overnight, the community of idle wild flanked by hundreds of firefighters protecting more than 2,000 homes. the blitz to carve a massive fire break kicked into high gear on thursday. the mountain fire closed westbouwithin two miles of town. an inferno that can't be stopped.

>> we're concerned about everybody's home and property and safety. we cannot guarantee your safety should the fire run into town.

>> reporter: mandatory evacuations forced more than 6,000 to flee the plains. this mountain community a tender box ready to explode. this man among the last hold outs to leave.

>> this is my life. this is my friends everybody i care for. they all live up here. so it just becomes -- you become part of the community.

>> reporter: despite 17 water dropping helicopters and a dc-10 providing air support the blaze scorched tens of thousands of acres of land. the mushroom cloud of billowing smoke seen from space. ash is raining down on the city of palm springs . today the fire fight enters day five with only a handful of homes lost so far, this will be another critical day on the fire lines and for the small town of idle wild . the fire is roughly about two miles away from idle wild and about two miles away from here in palm springs . the good news, the blaze is roughly 15% contained.