Holy fire latest updates: What caused the Holy Fire in Southern California?


The Holy Fire is believed to have been started intentionally.

Forrest Gordon Clark is accused of setting the Holy Fire in Cleveland National Forest, which had grown to 10,236 acres as of Thursday evening.

He has been charged with multiple felony counts involving arson — his charges could carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Mr Clark has been charged for two counts of felony arson, one count of felony threat to terrorise and one count of misdemeanour arrest, according to officials from the Cleveland National Forest.

The fire started as a small fire in the Holy Jim Canyon area and has grown in size each day since it began on Monday.

Mr Clark is being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million (£780,000) bail and is expected to make a court appearance on Friday.

He was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday morning, but it was delayed because he reportedly refused to leave his jail cell.

Authorities accused Mr Clark of igniting the blaze in Trabuco Canyon, an Orange County community located in the Cleveland National Forest on Monday afternoon.

Holy fire latest updates:

Holy fire latest updates:

According to the Orange County Register, Clark allegedly sent threatening emails to a volunteer fire chief last week, including one text which read: “The place is going to burn just like you planned.”

Michael Milligan, the Holy Jim volunteer fire chief, told The Orange County Register Mr Clark had a longstanding feud with his neighbours.

Milligan said he had known the arson suspect for decades and had long warned that he posed a danger to the community.

The Orange County supervisor Todd Spitzer told a news conference on Wednesday that Mr Clark “need to suffer the fullest punishment of the law.”

He said: “We know this district burns, but it should never burn because of an intentional act.

“This shouldn’t be called the Holy Jim fire, it should be called the Holy Hell fire.”

“This is a monster,” he added.

Nearly one in four fires set between 2010 and 2014 were arson, according to data by the United States Interior Department.

Holy fire latest updates:

The Holy Fire started on Monday in the Cleveland National Forest’s Jim Canyon and has so far destroyed a dozen structures, according to fire authorities.

More than 21,000 people have been evacuated in and around Lake Elsinore where flames and smoke rose into the sky at the edge of the city of 60,000.

The fire is being fuelled by dry brush covering steep terrain and was stoked by erratic wind gusts during the night, Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the incident said.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the area on Thursday, freeing up additional resources to battle the blaze.