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‘The place is going to burn,’ arson suspect allegedly texted before fire

12 August 2018
‘The place is going to burn,’ arson suspect allegedly texted before fire

The blaze is affecting two of the state's counties - Orange and Riverside. Authorities have issued mandatory evacuation orders and one person has been arrested in connection with one of the blazes.

When investigators went to question Clark he abrasively told them they weren't allowed on his property in Holy Jim Canyon, the flashpoint of the fire, Duff said.

Shannon Hicks, 59, defied an evacuation order and watched in awe as firefighters faced down a storm of flames that descended toward her street in the city of Lake Elsinore.

The man accused of deliberately starting the latest fast-moving blaze faces life in prison if convicted of arson and other charges.

Clark's arraignment was delayed until Friday because he had refused to come out of his cell to appear in court Thursday.

The blaze has destroyed 119 homes but none in recent days. But firefighters also made progress, with containment doubling from 5 to 10 percent.

"Our main focus this afternoon was getting everyone out safely", said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the crews battling the Holy Fire.

Those lines have kept the southern edge of the fire from spreading into residential areas on the east side of the lake.

Smoky air from blowing winds is nothing new in California, but air quality experts say it's rare for the dirty air to linger for so long, a reality of ever-larger fires that take longer to extinguish. The fire has grown quickly because of high temperatures and the area's steep terrain, according to the Cleveland National Forest.

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The suspected arsonist is 51-year-old Forrest Gordon Clark, whose cabin in Holy Jim Canyon is the only structure in the area to remained untouched by the raging fires.

The Holy Fire is just one of the wildfires now ravaging California.

A little farther north, the Carr Fire has claimed some 178,000 acres and remains just half-contained, as well.

According to CNN, Milligan has known Clark for decades.

The toll from the California wildfires rose to 10 Thursday after a heavy equipment mechanic assigned to the Carr Fire was killed in a road accident, authorities said. California firefighters are now working to contain at least 18 fires in the state.

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer didn't mince words at a news conference Wednesday.

The largest in state history is the Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of the Ranch and River fires in Northern California.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the relatively small blaze, which has consumed more than 18,000 acres (7,200 hectares) since it began on Tuesday, fire officials said. Dry conditions and an increase in dead trees are fueling the fires, which have left more than 800,000 acres of scorched Earth in their path and several people, including firefighters, dead.