Holy Fire: 21,000 evacuated as California blaze inches to Lake Elsinore


The mandatory evacuation orders were issued as the inferno — which is suspected to have been deliberately started — inched closer towards homes in the area.

A state of emergency for the area has been declared by governor Jerry Brown.

The deadly blaze has scorched more than 18,000 acres of land since it started on Monday.

The Holy Fire was only 5 per cent contained yesterday.

The US Forest Service said: «Extreme fire behaviour was observed to the north and east portions of the fire. 

“Steep terrain, dry fuels, and inaccessible areas continue to be a factor in fire spread.”

More than 600 firefighters are battling the blaze.

Forrest Clark, 51, who owns a cabin in Holy Jim Canyon where the fire started, appeared in court yesterday accused of starting the fire following feuds with neighbours.

Holy Fire

Holy Fire

Holy Fire

He was arrested earlier this week after a standoff with police.

He was charged with arson, making criminal threats and resisting arrest.

The 51-year-old is reported to have previously rowed with other cabin owners and last week he allegedly sent an email to volunteer fire chief Mike Milligan warning “this place will burn”.

His case has been adjourned until August 17 with bail set at $1million (£783,000).

Forrest Clark

Firefighters tackle Holy Fire

When bail was set Mr Clark said: «I can handle a million (dollars) right now, easily.»

There are currently a number of wildfires burning across California.

The Carr fire in northern California has spread through 181,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes. It was 51 per cent contained on Friday.

And the Mendocino Complex fire has become the largest fire on record in California, burning 307,000 acres. About 4,000 firefighters are working to tackle the blaze.

Wildfires across more than 12 states have blackened a total of 5.4 million acres during this year’s wildfire season, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.