Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Crews Make Progress Against Arson-Sparked Holy Fire

Crews Make Progress Against Arson-Sparked Holy Fire

More than 600 firefighters are battling the Holy fire, which is one of at least 18 wildfires raging across California.

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

"This place is going to burn", Forrest Clark, 51, allegedly texted a volunteer fire chief two weeks before an inferno enveloped Orange County, burning almost 20,000 acres and destroying 12 homes. The blaze has razed a dozen properties so far.

Additional fire crews have been brought in from surrounding counties and states, and from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

When bail was set Mr Clark said: "I can handle a million (dollars) right now, easily". "I got burned. I woke up and my stuff was all on fire".

"He said this place "is going to burn just like we planned", Mike Milligan, 71, a volunteer firefighter who was a recipient of the texts last week, said.

Witness statements, physical evidence and burn patterns connected the man to the fire, said Shane Sherwood with the Orange County Fire Authority.

According to state fire officials, California's fire expenses have more than trebled from $242m in 2013 to $773m in the 2018 fiscal year ending on 30 June. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the area.

"I was asleep, I had two earbuds in", he said.

The charges can carry a life sentence. The fires were 51 percent contained.

Clark allegedly started the fire following a dispute with Milligan.

A California man was charged with arson and other offenses on August 9 for allegedly starting the Holy Fire in Orange County, it was reported.

His court hearing was supposed to be on Thursday, but he refused to leave his jail cell.

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.

Firefighters fought a desperate battle to stop the Holy Fire from reaching homes as the blaze surged through the Cleveland National Forest above the city of Lake Elsinore and its surrounding communities. Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, made an animated court appearance, marked by several outbursts. The Carr Fire is already the sixth-most destructive in the state's history, having claimed six lives and burned through thousands of structures around the city of Redding.

"Crews worked throughout the night to reinforce containment lines while the fire behavior remained extreme".

Teresita Reyes was among some 20,000 people under evacuation orders, saying she was attending a wedding Wednesday when she received the order to evacuate.

Information released by the Cleveland National Forest, which is where the fire is burning, indicates that in addition to the weather, steep terrain, and limited access, another reason they are losing ground is they are not able to obtain all the firefighting resources they have requested.

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