Holy Fire LIVE updates: 18,137 acres IN FLAMES – evacuations – Lake Elsinore a ‘WAR ZONE’ | World | News
The Holy Fire is currently on five percent contained in the Cleveland National Forest area of Southern California’s Orange County as it reached its fourth day, officials said.
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as the fire raged on.
In their morning update Cleveland National Forest declared Holy Fire had grown to 18,137 acres as firefighters struggled to contain the flames.
More than 1,000 firefighters remained on the front lines as a smoke-filled sky blanketed communities in the Lake Elsinore area in the early morning hours.
Saturday August 11
Suspect told emergency services ‘this place is going to burn’
Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, appeared in court today for arson related charges.
He told a volunteer fire chief two weeks ago in a chilling text message “this place is going to burn”.
He was arrested earlier this week.
Caitlin Doherty takes over reporting from Georgina Laud
Friday August 10
9.19pm update: Cleveland National Forest explain why fighting the Holy Fire is so difficult
When asked by a Twitter user why the firefighters were struggling with containment Clevelend National Forest replied:
“Because of the steep topography with limited access and no where for our fire fighters to go.
“It is in an area with little fire history and dry fuels. Couple that with high temps, and it becomes extreme.”
8.39pm update: Holy Fire suspect appears in court
Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, appeared in court today for arson related charges.
In chilling court footage Clark stared directly at the courthouse camera.
When the charges against him were read aloud by the judge, Clark said, “That’s a lie.”
His arraignment was set back until August 17 and his bond was set at $1 million.
7.42pm update: Residents warned to pay attention to the evacuation orders
Fire officials have warned residents to heed evacuation orders and remain prepared.
Thanh Nguyen with the SoCal Team One Fire Management Team, suggested that those in the areas of the fires should have a packed bag ready to go.
“Even if you’re miles away, you want to be prepared if you’re near the fire area or in an environment that can burn.”
6.23pm update: Holy Fire instensifies as more residents flee their homes
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Tim Chavez has said that firefighters have a long battle ahead and that he expects the fire to grow further.
“The homes are really in danger, otherwise we would not pull the evacuation trigger,” he said.
NASA’s satellite captured this shocking image from space of the rising smoke plumes
4.55pm update: Shocking NASA images show the extent of the smoke plumes
Nasa have released images of the California wildfires captured via a satellite in space.
Towering plumes of smoke can be seen rising from the fires – seen clearly from space.
NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold took some of the images images of the threatening wildfires from his vantage point onboard the International Space Station, writing on Twitter: “Plumes of billowing smoke from the #CaliforniaWildfires stretch eastwards toward to the Rocky Mountains.”
3.17pm update: Holy Fire suspect hearing rescheduled due to his refusal to leave his jail cell
According to Los Angeles CBS – Forrest Clark failed to attend his first hearing after refusing to leave his jail cell yesterday.
The hearing has since been postponed to later today and will take place with or without him say CBS.
Evidence as to how the fire began is still being analysed says Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Shane Sherwood.
“As far as exactly how it was started, we’re still working through some of that evidence,” Chief Sherwood said.
Georgina Laud takes over live reporting from Vickiie Oliphant
11.17am update: Forrest Clark could face even more charges against him
Jeffrey Kirk, a deputy district attorney in Orange County, said in a video posted by Los Angeles television station KTLA that more charges could be filed against Clark because the fire and investigation are continuing.
“The sky’s the limit,” Kirk said, according to KTLA.
Firefighter consoles a man who is worried that his sister’s house will burn during the Holy Fire
11.00am update: Latest school closures
All Menifee Union District and Perris High School Union schools announced they would shut down Thursday, citing the poor air quality.
Other schools that are closed are from the Lake Elsinore Unified School District School include: Luiseno School, Rice Canyon Elementary, Terra Cota Middle School and Withrow Elementary. District officials said they will be closed until further notice.
10.28am update: Evacuation orders latest
Mandatory evacuations have been issued in the following areas:
-El Cariso Village
-Ortega74 Highway corridor from the Lookout restaurant to the Nichols Institute
-Holy Jim Canyon
-South El Cariso
-Riverside and Shoreline zones
All homes on the mountainside of Lake Street and southwest of Grand Avenue to Ortega Highway are under mandatory evacuation orders.
Holy Fire: The blaze spread thousands of acres overnight
10.19am update: Humid weather conditions fanning the flames
The fire is being fueled by dry brush covering steep terrain and stoked by erratic wind gusts during the night, said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the incident said.
“Strong downdrafts is making the fire move aggressively downhill,” said Nguyen.
Firefighters are working to build barriers and containment lines to protect more than 2,000 homes at risk from the fire.
10.06am update: Fire is ‘like a war zone’
More than 21,000 people have been evacuated in and around Lake Elsinore.
Furious flames and billowing smoke rose into the sky at the edge of the city of 60,000 as the blaze burned nearby in the Santa Ana Mountains.
“It feels like a war zone,” Ana Tran told the Los Angeles Times as ash and flame retardant fell on her neighbourhood.
10.01am update: Fire size fluctuating
Officials had lowered the acreage of the fire to 3,399 acres on Tuesday but raised it to 6,200 acres Wednesday afternoon.
The size then exploded to 9,614 acres, Cleveland National Forest officials announced Thursday.
And late into Thursday, the blaze expanded again to 10,236 acres.
Holy fire updates: Holy Fire is 5 percent contained
Holy fire updates: Brown declared a state of emergency for the area
9.40am update: Citizens watch as the fire creeps towards their homes
Rudy, a Riverside firefighter who had just come off the frontlines, watched as the flames moved into his own back garden.
“We do our due diligence to protect those homes, but being here there’s nothing I can really do. I don’t have my apparatus or my crew. But I do trust the local agencies, Cal Fire, OCFA doing their jobs, so I feel safe,” he said.
Some manmade preventions such as a quarry and construction helps to keep the fire from quickly moving in, he added.
9.30am update: One man arrested for arson over Holy Fire
Forrest Clark, 51, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of setting the fire.
He was charged with multiple criminal counts including aggravated arson and making criminal threats, the Orange County District Attorney Office said in a statement on Thursday.
Clark, who faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted, was held on bail of $1 million.
His arraignment was rescheduled from Thursday to Friday.
9.20am update: Homes being painted with fire retardant to avoid further damage
A wall of Phos-Chek was painted to protect houses near Crystal Ridge Court.
“It’s got a nice, little pink tone to it. It actually looks a little better than it did when they originally dropped it,” said Lake Elsinore resident P.J. Rodriguez.
“It was super red, but it’s OK, I’d rather have to deal with this than have to rebuild an entire new house.