Spread of California’s Holy Fire Forces Evacuations

August 9, 2018 Last Updated: August 10, 2018

California’s Holy Fire continued to spread through Cleveland National Forest, consuming 6,200 acres and threatening neighboring communities.

Fire crews had to battle triple-digit temperatures as well as extremely steep and rugged terrain while trying to protect dwellings and contain the fire. 639 fire fighters were deployed to battle the blaze, according to the InciWeb tracking website.

Despite water and fire-retardant dumps from 10 helicopters and seven airplanes, the fire is still only about 5 percent contained, according to InciWeb.

The tracking site estimated that the fire would not be fully contained until Aug. 15.

InciWeb confirmed that the fire had consumed 12 structures by Aug. 8, but so far, no civilian injuries had been reported. Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

The fire was heading toward Horsethief Canyon, Cow Canyon, and McVicker Drainage, prompting mandatory evacuation notices for McVicker Canyon, Rice Canyon, Horsethief Canyon, El Cariso, Rancho Capistrano, Blue Jay, Indian Canyon, Glen Eden, Sycamore Creek and Mayhew Canyon.

People living along the Highway 74 corridor from Lookout Restaurant to Nichols Institute and all connecting roads in the communities of Rancho Capistrano, El Cariso Village and Blue Jay have been asked to evacuate as well, but so far those evacuations are voluntary.

Highway 74 eastbound is closed. People are asked to head west into Orange County to keep clear of fire equipment coming from the Lake Elsinore side.

Evacuations centers have been set up at Temescal Canyon High School in Lake Elsinore and San Juan Hills High School in Stallion Ridge, San Juan Capistrano.

People looking for current information about the fire should call (714) 573-6210 or (714) 573-6202.

Small animals can be evacuated to Animal Friends of the Valley at 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar, ABC News-10 reported.

People wanting more information should call (951) 674-0618 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or (951) 506-5069 between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Forrest Gordon Clark was arrested on suspicion of arson
Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of felony arson, one count of felony threat to terrorize, and one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Alleged Arsonist Arrested

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, on Aug. 7 on suspicion of two counts of arson, one count of felony threat to terrorize, and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, the Orange County Register reported. His bail was set at $1 million.

Clark, who owns a cabin in Holy Jim Canyon, apparently sent emails saying “This place will burn” to Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Milligan a week before the fire started.

Clark’s cabin was one of over a dozen clustered in Holy Jim Canyon—the only one not consumed by the flames.

According to Milligan, who owned one of the destroyed cabins, Clark had an ongoing feud with all his neighbors, and particularly with Milligan.

When deputies arrived to question him, Clark stripped naked except for a large gold medallion and began shouting at the deputies.