Aggressive wildfire menaces thousands in southern California city

12 August, 2018, 02:57 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • The Ranch Fire spots out ahead of the main fire in Spring Valley Calif. Monday Aug. 6 2018

The blaze north of San Francisco has grown to the size of Los Angeles since it started two weeks ago, fueled by dry vegetation, high winds and rugged terrain that made it too unsafe for firefighters to directly attack the flames now spanning 470 square miles. Some of the orders were lifted on Saturday morning, including for Horsethief, McVicker and Rice canyons.

The Holy Fire - named for Holy Jim Canyon, where it began Monday - grew to almost 33 square miles (85 square kilometres) by Saturday morning.

Shannon Hicks, 59, defied an evacuation order and watched in awe as firefighters faced down a storm of flames that descended toward her street in the city of Lake Elsinore. If convicted as charged, Clark faces life in prison.

Clark refused to go to court Thursday and his arraignment was postponed to Friday.

The fire has destroyed 119 residences, along with 110 other structures. A court commissioner ordered his bail to remain at $1 million.

People watch flames from the Holy Fire outside Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona, Calif., on August 10, 2018.

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The fire is burning about an hour east of the ocean near the town of Lake Elsinore.

"I woke up and my stuff was all on fire", he said.

Despite its massive size, the Mendocino Complex Fire was far from a worst-case scenario.

The Orange County Register reported that Clark owns a cabin in the community of Holy Jim, where the fire began, and that his was the only one to survive the flames.

Forrest Clark, 51, was accused of starting the Holy Fire in southern California, one of 18 blazes burning across the state, smoke from which has triggered air quality warnings in cities including San Francisco. He faces charges for arson, felony threat to terrorize, and resisting arrest.

Across the state, at least 14,000 firefighters are struggling to contain the multiple outbreaks.

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Experts warn that worsening weather conditions, with thunderstorms in the forecast, could lead to "extreme fire behaviour" over the next few days, he adds.

If Clark is guilty, a Washington Post interview with Milligan suggests that police could have prevented the arson.

A fire that broke out near the communities of Fairfield and Vacaville had destroyed a home and two other structures, according to the Vacaville Fire Department.

Tough terrain and heavy smoke made hard work for firefighters, but containment lines in the south held, state fire officials said.

"This should be called the Holy hellfire".

Crews continued aerial and ground firefighting efforts Wednesday, with 16 air tankers, 10 helicopters and additional fixed-wing aircraft assisting ground crews, who were working to build bulldozer lines, authorities said.

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Crews turned a corner in their battle against Northern California's Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest-ever in recorded state history, getting it 60 percent contained.

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