Crews battle growing wildfire near homes in California


Since it erupted Monday afternoon, the blaze has destroyed a dozen cabins in the Holy Jim Canyon area of the Cleveland National Forest and advanced into Riverside County.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the relatively small blaze, which has consumed more than 18,000 acres since it began on Tuesday, fire officials said. The fire had consumed more than 305,000 acres in Northern California, or 476 square miles - an expanse almost as large as the city of Los Angeles.

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.

One then swoops in low behind a row of houses before opening its bay doors and dumping its load of flame retardant liquid over the ground.

California is now in the midst of a pretty serious wildfire crisis.

The Hat Fire reportedly broke out off Highway 299 near the Hat Creek rest area and sent a large plume of smoke into the air. Forrest Clark could face life in prison if convicted.

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

Teresita Reyes was among some 20,000 people forced to evacuate, saying she was attending a wedding Wednesday when she received the order.

Eric Lint, a neighbor of Clark whose cabin burned in the blaze, said he was not surprised by Clark's arrest.

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"Smoke from the western fires is making it all the way to the East Coast and beyond", the National Weather Service said in a tweet.

Clark has been accused of setting a fire in Trabuco Canyon, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said after he was formally charged on Thursday.

About 20,000 residents are under mandatory evacuation orders after a Southern California fire - which authorities say was set intentionally - spread this week. He also claimed he had been threatened by the MS-13 gang.

Steep, inaccessible terrain has hampered crews tackling the Holy fire and the blaze was only 10 percent contained on Friday.

The largest fire in California history is the Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of the Ranch and River fires - in Northern California.

The fires, which were first reported on July 27th, are not expected to be fully contained until September 1st.

Brake is the third firefighter killed in the battle against the Carr Fire. But amid all these grim and rising numbers, California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has listed just one cause: "human".

"I'm pissed, I'm outraged, I'm disgusted", Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson told CBS News. The smoke sits more than a mile above the Earth's surface, but can move down through strong winds called jet streams and have an impact on air quality. Two other people, a state fire heavy equipment mechanic assigned to the fire and a utility worker trying to restore power near the fire, have died in auto accidents. A smoky haze stretches from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range to Sacramento and hovers over the San Francisco Bay Area, with most major population centers in between enduring air quality that's considered unsafe for many residents. Last month, he was placed on a psychiatric hold.