Progress On Mendocino Complex Fire As Firefight Enters 3rd Week

Howard TerryAug 11, 2018

Aircraft dropped fire retardant on flames and homes as people ignoring evacuation orders used garden hoses to spray down their properties when the blaze flared Thursday evening, propelled by 20-mph (30-kph) gusts.

Wildfires dubbed the Holy Fire have decimated over 10,000 acres, and a state of emergency has been declared for the Riverside and Orange counties.

A plume of smoke from a wildfire burning near the Holy Jim area looms, August 6, 2018, in Lake Forest, Calif. Authorities have evacuated cabins in two communities in the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County because of a fast-moving wildfire. Meanwhile, no one has been killed by the Mendocino Complex Fire, though two firefights have been injured and 119 residences have been burned.

It's one of almost 20 blazes across California, which is seeing earlier, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons because of drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into forests. Friday morning, crews were battling 12 large fires in the state.

When asked if he knew how the fire started, Clark said he had no idea.

Clark, 51, is charged with three counts of arson, resisting arrest and deterring an executive officer. Thanks to new technology, Edman says, the National Weather Service has been better able to track the movement of smoke across the USA from fires based in California, capturing it in visualizations and maps for just a few years now.

CBSLA noted that Clark - who has been linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory as well as other alt-right claims - called the arson charges against him "lies" before claiming that he could "easily" pay his $1 million bond.

North of Sacramento, crews were gaining the upper hand on massively destructive fires even as new ones forced more evacuations and the weather forecast called for hot, dry, gusty weather.

Clark's arraignment was delayed Thursday and could take place Friday, according to Rebecca Moss, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said the area has few natural barriers to slow flames and terrain that firefighters can't get to.

A firefighter keeps watch Thursday on the Holy Fire, which has ravaged the Cleveland National Forest in Lake Elsinore, Calif. Authorities say they believe Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, is the arsonist who set the forest ablaze.

More than 600 firefighters are battling the blaze.

If Clark is convicted he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Those lines have kept the southern edge of the fire from spreading into residential areas on the east side of the lake.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that any large gathering is safe and being conducted legally", Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters.

The fires all grew explosively in the past two weeks as winds whipped the flames through forest and rural areas full of timber and brush that is bone-dry from years of drought and a summer of record-breaking heat.

"I'm pissed, I'm outraged, I'm disgusted", Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson told CBS News.

Martin Lovrin, a Mendocino Complex Fire evacuee, rests at a makeshift shelter on Wednesday in Clearlake, California.

Firefighters had nearly contained a huge fire near Yosemite National Park.

The fire - named for the canyon where it started - destroyed a dozen cabins after it broke out Monday.

Two firefighters have been treated for heat-related injuries in the Holy Fire.

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