Holy fire update: State of emergency declared for two counties as fire INTENSIFIES | World | News
Governor of California Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Orange and Riverside Counties following evacuation ordered for thousands.
The declaration means that California’s Office of Emergency Services can now provide quicker and more efficient help to the two counties.
Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the incident said that the fire was being fuelled by steep terrain covered in thick dry brush and erratic wind gust.
“Strong downdrafts is making the fire move aggressively downhill,” said Nguyen.
The Holy Fire continues to burn out of control with just five percent containment in its fourth day since sparking.
Beginning in the Orange County area of Cleveland National Forest, the fire tracked eastwards toward Lake Elsinore in Riverside County.
Officials declared in their latest report that the flames have reached Cold Water Canyon close to Santiago Peak.
In their morning update the Cleveland National Forest tweeted:
“#HolyFire morning update: 18,137 acres and 5% contained.
“For those wondering about containment, the hand/containment line grows as the fire grows.
“We continue to actively engage, but cannot get ahead of the fire.”
There have so far been around 21,484 people evacuated from 7,449 homes – with areas evacuated including Mayhew/Sycamore Creek, Glen Eden, Horsethief, Rice Canyon, Rice Lake, McVicker, Machado and South El Cariso, Riverside and Shoreline zones, according to CalFire.
Lake Elsinore resident Josh Castro told CNN after evacuating: “I don’t know anything about the neighbourhood.
“Hopefully I have a house in the morning.”
Several Riverside County district schools have now been closed due to the poor air quality from the constantly growing smoke plumes around the fire.
For Lake Elsinore Unified School District, the school year has been postponed to begin on August 20 after the governing board held an emergency meeting.
Roads have also been closed, with Ortega highway shut in both directions from Grand Avenue in Lake Elsinore to the Nichols Institute entrance in Orange County’s San Juan Capistrano.
A total of 1,200 firefighters have been tackling the growing Holy Fire blaze – building containment barriers in the hope of slowing the spread of the fire.
Weather is working against those attempting to contain the fire, however, as hot temperatures and warm winds fan the flames causing more spread.
Forecasters for the region have warned that more strong winds, hot weather and low humidity could further stoke the fires across the state.
For the latest updates on the California fires click here.