The Cleveland National Forest was only 5 percent contained as of Thursday evening local time.
The brush fire is now entering its fifth day as it moves dangerously close to homes in Riverside County’s Lake Elsinore-Corona area.
By 8pm on Thursday evening, the fire had grown from 9,600 acres to 10,236 acres.
The blaze started on Monday afternoon near the Riverside and Orange county border in Cleveland National Forest.
The fire has destroyed a dozen cabins in the Holy Jim Canyon area of the Cleveland National Forest.
Flames spread downhill toward Lake Elsinore on Thursday afternoon, threatening homes and prompting mandatory evacuation orders for homes fronting the mountains.
The fire is believed to have been intentionally set and an arrest has been made.
The Holy fire increased in size near the Horsethief Canyon area on Wednesday and then jumped the North Main Divide dirt road, burning into the Lake Elsinore area of Riverside County.
Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the fire crews said: “Our main focus this afternoon was getting everyone out safely.”
Latest affected area
The Holy Fire exploded to more than 10,200 acres on Thursday.
The fire is burning towards Horsethief Canyon, Cow Canyon and McVicker Drainage, north of Lake Elsinore.
Ten helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft assisted firefighters in tackling the blaze.
In the McVicker Canyon area, firefighters are working quickly to save dozens of homes as flames raced up the brush right against the backyard fences.
A total of 12 structures were destroyed on the Orange County side but it was unclear how many structures were damaged in Riverside County.
The flames caused a smoke advisory to be issued for Orange and parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Those who have not been forced to evacuate are being urged to limit outdoor activity.
All schools in the Menifee Unified School District in Riverside County and Perris High School Union schools are closed on Friday, 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.
Mandatory evacuations have been issued in the following areas:
- McVicker Canyon
- Rice Canyon
- Horsethief Canyon
- Glen Eden
- El Cariso Village
- Mayhew/Sycamore Creek
- Rancho Capistrano
- Ortega74 Highway corridor from the Lookout restaurant to the Nichols Institute
- Trabuco Canyon
- 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.
The evacuation area covers 7,449 family homes and numerous commercial structures.
Voluntary evacuation warnings
- Highway 74 (Ortega Highway) west from Lookout Restaurant to Nichols Institute and all connecting roads in the communities of Rancho Capistrano, El Cariso Village and Blue Jay. Residents are advised to exit west to Orange County to avoid fire equipment coming up on the Elsinore side.
- Highway 74 eastbound is also closed.
• Ortega Highway because of the proximity of the brush fire to the two-lane corridor
• Grand Avenue in Lake Elsinore to the Nichols Institute entrance in San Juan Capistrano in Orange County
• Mountain is closed at Lake
• Orange Grove is closed at Lake
• Broadway is closed at Grand
• Lincoln is closed at Grand
• McVicker is closed at Grand
• Grand is closed just South of McVicker
• West of Grand (Mountain side of street)
• West Side of 74 (Mountain side of street)
• El Contento
• Ortega Highway (State Route 74) closed at Grand
• Machado/Lincoln (towards Grand)
Temescal Road is closed between India Truck Trail and Lake Street.