California wildfires continued to rage Friday as the Holy Fire in southern California came within mere meters of residential areas and destroyed more than 7,000 hectares of national forest land.
On Thursday night, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Orange and Riverside counties, where the Holy Fire is burning.
Overall, a dozen fires are burning in California. Ten people have died as a result. In Southern California, about 20,000 residents have been urged to evacuate.
Some residents have refused to go, saying they will stay behind to protect their homes.
Trabuco Canyon resident Forrest Clark, arrested earlier this week, was charged Thursday with three counts of felony arson. Local reports say the suspect two weeks ago sent an email to a volunteer fire chief in the area, saying “this place is going to burn.”
The chief, Mike Mulligan, told CNN he has known Clark for decades and has been warning for a long time that Clark posed a danger to the community.
This year’s fire season is shaping up to be one of California’s worst. In northern California, the Mendocino Complex Fire has become the largest fire in state history.
So far, it has burned an area the size of Los Angeles, and officials say it may be September before they are able to contain it.
The blaze is made up of two separate fires burning in the northern Mendocino and Lake counties that have merged.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) had anticipated that the blaze could be fully contained by August 15, but now say it will be September 1.
Officials say some 14,000 firefighters, including inmates and firefighters from overseas, have managed to build containment cut lines around half the fire to contain the flames burning about 160 kilometers north of San Francisco.
Those lines have kept the southern edge of the fire from spreading into residential areas on the east side of Clear Lake. But CAL FIRE said the flames are out of control to the north, roaring into remote and unpopulated areas of thick forests as firefighters contend with record-setting temperatures.