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Firefighters are making strides as blazes race toward homes

Firefighters have made major progress against a blaze threatening homes in Southern California -- with its c...

Posted: Aug 13, 2018 8:12 AM
Updated: Aug 13, 2018 8:12 AM

Firefighters have made major progress against a blaze threatening homes in Southern California -- with its containment nearly quadrupling within two days.

The Holy Fire, one of more than a dozen burning in the state, was 41% contained by early Sunday, up from 10% on Friday.

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With the firefighters' progress, authorities lifted evacuation orders in several neighborhoods in Lake Elsinore, the city most threatened by the fire.

About 11,120 people remain under mandatory evacuation, down from 21,000 on Friday.

The blaze has scorched through canyons and mountains in Orange and Riverside counties since Monday, chewing through dry vegetation as it crept into residential areas.

Man accused of arson

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, was charged with aggravated arson and criminal threats, among other crimes, for allegedly starting the fire. He's being held on $1 million bail, and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if found guilty.

A volunteer fire chief said two weeks ago, Clark sent him a message saying, "The place is going to burn." Clark has denied involvement in starting the fire, saying, "It's all a lie."

So far, the Holy Fire has scorched more than 22,700 acres in the Cleveland National Forest.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties, and several school districts have canceled classes due to fire warnings and unhealthy air quality.

While it's not the largest burning in the state, the Holy Fire has raised concerns about its effect on residential communities.

Holy Fire not only one burning in California

In addition to the Holy Fire, firefighters in California are battling at least 10 large blazes, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

California is seeing more destructive wildfire seasons because of dry conditions and high temperatures, and Brown has warned that this is the new normal.The state spent a quarter of its firefighting budget for the year in July.

The largest blaze in state history is the Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of the Ranch and River fires in Northern California. It has burned a combined 331,000 acres and injured two firefighters. The River Fire is almost contained, and the larger Ranch Fire is 62% contained.

The second biggest is the Carr Fire in Shasta County, also in Northern California. The deadly fire has burned for nearly three weeks and killed eight people. It has consumed 191,211 acres so far and is 59% contained.

The third largest is the Ferguson Fire, near Yosemite National Park, incinerating nearly 96,000 acres. It has lasted nearly a month and is 83% contained.

Fire officials have issued a grim prediction, warning that massive blazes will cost the state billions of dollars more over the next decade.

"What we're seeing in California right now is more destructive, larger fires burning at rates that we have historically never seen," Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1185576

Reported Deaths: 19089
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3877937604
San Bernardino902221129
Riverside857741437
San Diego76359996
Orange750951577
Kern40337448
Fresno37724481
Sacramento35854566
Santa Clara32985476
Alameda28857505
San Joaquin25738502
Contra Costa23571261
Stanislaus21460424
Tulare20649308
Ventura19058175
Imperial15862356
San Francisco15156160
Monterey14750116
San Mateo13715170
Sonoma11922157
Merced11537179
Santa Barbara11277135
Kings1047587
Solano1003681
Marin7628129
Placer635468
Madera604785
San Luis Obispo596435
Shasta471847
Yolo462675
Santa Cruz426928
Butte389459
Sutter314415
Napa298817
El Dorado22174
Yuba198110
San Benito183716
Lassen17733
Tehama161225
Mendocino148522
Nevada11849
Tuolumne9088
Glenn8928
Lake89019
Humboldt8509
Colusa6946
Siskiyou6242
Mono5273
Amador52016
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3131
Inyo29016
Plumas2050
Trinity1390
Mariposa1282
Modoc1250
Alpine470
Sierra190
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
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Hi: 62° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 37°
Oroville
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Hi: 60° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 42°
Paradise
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Hi: 55° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 37°
Chester
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Feels Like: 18°
Red Bluff
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Feels Like: 37°
The final Friday of November was a beautiful one for northern California with plentiful sunshine, warmer than average temperatures and weaker wind. We can expect plenty of sunshine and continued mild weather this weekend.
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