California wildfire forces more than 21,000 to evacuate homes

Geneva Stokes
August 11, 2018

Firefighters in California said on Wednesday that they are making good progress battling the state's largest-ever wildfire but didn't expect to have it fully under control until September.

Cal Fire San Luis Obispo posted on twitter Thursday that Strike Team 9341C is stationed in neighborhoods defending structures at the Holy Fire.

Crews are working furiously to keep a Southern California wildfire from burning more homes south of Los Angeles while firefighters in the north have finally gained ground against major blazes.

The Smoke Advisory issued on Tuesday morning due to smoke impact from the Holy Fire remains in effect until further notice.

More than 14,000 firefighters are spread out across the state as well as army personnel, inmates, the national guard, reinforcements from other states and from New Zealand and Australia.

"I've been trying for years to get someone to pay attention and nobody has really had the opportunity to do that until now", he said.

The Holy Fire - named for Holy Jim Canyon where it began Monday - grew to almost 30 square miles (77 square kilometres) after almost doubling in size overnight.

The state's largest wildfire in history has drawn a contingent to battle what is actually two fires burning so closely together that they're being attacked as one. If he's convicted, he could face life in prison.

The Holy Fire still rages and is only 5 percent contained, the Orange County Register reported.

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Los Angeles' CBSLA reported that 51-year-old Forrest Gordon Clark initially refused to leave his jail cell to appear before his judge.

Some residents in Lake Elsinore are ignoring evacuation orders and are attempting to protect their homes themselves.

Clark was placed on what's known as a "5150 hold", meaning he was placed in custody for 72 hours to evaluate his mental health, but social workers deemed him eligible to release three days later, Braun said.

Before he was arrested, Clark told a cameraman he was asleep when the fire started and had no idea how it began.

However, the northern line of the fire continues to roll through remote mountain areas towards the Snow Mountain Wilderness and is now roughly about 15 miles directly east of Willits.

As of Friday evening, more than 21,000 people remained under evacuation orders. (The Orange County Sheriff's Department via Reuters) A resident of Holy Jim Canyon in the forest was scheduled for a court hearing Friday on charges that he deliberately set the fire.

He claimed during the interview that he was the target of threats from the MS-13 gang.

The steep terrain was making it hard for fire engines to get to some of the flames, so the major weapons against the blaze are the aerial water drops, officials said.

The Donnell fire in Stanislaus County, which drew concern when it grew exponentially over the weekend, has now burned 17,941 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

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