Man suspected of starting Holy Fire makes bizarre court appearance

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

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.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as the fire carved its way along ridges in the Cleveland National Forest.

The Mendocino Complex Fire, now burning in northern California, is the largest in the state's history.

Jonathan Vigliotti reports from Lake Elsinore, California.

Wildfires across California and the region could be further stoked by strong gusts, low humidity and hot weather on Friday and Saturday, forecasters warned.

A Southern California wildfire that has been raging for several days south of Los Angeles is now 29 percent contained.

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

Forrest Gordon Clark, who local authorities have arrested and charged with two counts of felony arson and felony threatening to terrorize, spread a series of alt-right conspiracies on his personal Facebook page.

Fire spokeswoman Kate Kramer says Thursday that the majority of the 15-square-mile (39-square-kilometer) blaze is burning in wildland areas.

Clark refused to go to court Thursday and his arraignment was postponed to Friday.

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Officials said the Holy Fire in Cleveland National Forest had grown by Saturday morning to almost 33 square miles (85 sq. kilometers).

The fire is named for Holy Jim Canyon, where it erupted on Monday and burned a dozen cabins.

Milligan said he was so wary of Clark that he avoided altogether going to the area of the remote Orange County canyon where the 51-year-old Clark lives, he said. He faces sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. "I reported this over and over again". He also claimed he had been threatened by the MS-13 gang.

Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson is one of 21,000 residents who was told to leave and fire chiefs are urging people to follow her lead. Most are on the front lines, using chain saws and hand tools to reduce tinder-dry brush and trees to stop the flames.

All schools in the Menifee Unified School District in Riverside County were closed Thursday due to poor air quality caused by the fire, and the campuses will remain shuttered Friday.

The phone numbers for residents to call for information on the Holy Fire have changed, according to CalFire.

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

Firefighters under Cal Fire's command have helped OR authorities fight a fire near the California border and responded to a blaze that broke out this week in Orange County and burned a dozen cabins.

Contrary to what Donald Trump appears to believe, firefighters don't rely on water to fight fires like this.

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