California's Holy Fire intensifies, forces thousands from their homes

They are fighting California's biggest fire — in steep forest terrain with rattlesnakes scorpions and poisonous plants

More than 600 firefighters have been deployed to fight it, the Washington Post reports.

More than 21,000 people have been evacuated in and around Lake Elsinore, where furious flames and billowing smoke rose into the sky at the edge of the city of 60,000 as the blaze, dubbed the Holy Fire, burned nearby in the Santa Ana Mountains.

Fire crews from Australia and more than 30 New Zealanders have also flown over to share their expertise in battling bush fires. When a court commissioner ordered his bail to remain at $1 million, Clark said he can easily afford it and asked if he could pay it right away.

Shane Sherwood with the Orange County Fire Authority said the evidence gathered led them to believe the fire was an intentional act, but are still working through the evidence to determine how it was started.

"Our main focus this afternoon was getting everyone out safely", said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the crews battling the Holy Fire.

The largest in state history is the Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of the Ranch and River fires in Northern California.

"Until this thing is barking at my door, I'm going to stick with it", he told the San Bernardino Sun.

The charges being leveled could carry a life sentence, said Susan Schroeder of the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Forrest Clark, 51, was supposed to be in court on Thursday, but he refused to go.

The Holy Fire, is burning to the east of Trabuco Canyon near the border of Orange County and Riverside County within the Cleveland National Forest.

Clark was placed on what's known as a "5150 hold", meaning he was placed in custody for 72 hours to evaluate his mental health, but social workers deemed him eligible to release three days later, Braun said.

A resident of the canyon, 51-year-old Forrest Gordon Clark, was charged on Thursday with arson and other crimes that could send him to prison for life.

Clark spoke to a videographer from OnScene outside his Holy Jim Canyon prior to his arrest, insisting he had nothing to do with the fire.

Flames engulf a hillside Thursday in Lake Elsinore, Calif. Firefighters say the blaze, which has burned through more than 10,000 acres and forced the evacuations of 20,000 people, is just 5 percent contained.

Weather conditions with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and relative humidity below 15 percent created conditions conducive to extreme fire behavior as well as heat illnesses for the firefighters, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Mendocino Complex Fire in northern California, which is made up of two separate fires, has burned at least 302,086 acres since it began on 27 July.

Whipping winds, record-breaking heat, and drought-plagued brush have combined to fuel the historic fires.

Last Saturday US President Donald Trump declared the fires as a major disaster to bolster the emergency response and government assistance for the wildfires.

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