Thursday Update: Holy Fire Now 9,600 Acres, 5% Contained; Some RivCo Communites Under Evacuation

Aug 9, 2018

The Holy Fire has advanced from Orange County into Riverside County, prompting mandatory evacuations for some foothill communities south of Corona between Lake Elsinore and Temescal Valley.
Credit Cleveland National Forest


The Holy Fire which broke out Monday afternoon near Holy Jim Canyon Road in the Trabuco Canyon area of Orange County, has blackened 9,600 acres of the Cleveland National Forest, and as of this morning (Thursday) is only 5 percent contained.  And as the blaze continues to advance into Riverside County, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for several foothill communities south of Corona west of the 15 between Temescal Valley and Lake Elsinore.

The Ortega Highway – Highway 74, which is just south of where the fast moving blaze is burning – is closed to traffic both directions between lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano.

About 445 firefighters were battling the blaze, 16 air tankers, 10 helicopters and additional fixed-wing aircraft assisting ground crews. With so many wildfires
throughout the state, the firefighting personnel has been spread thin,

A 51-year-old man suspected of arson in connection with the Holy Fire is expected to be in court today (Thursday). Forrest Gordon Clark, who reportedly lives in the area, is being held on $1 million bail and is expected to be charged with multiple arson-related felonies today by the Orange County District Attorney's Office.  At least one other cabin dweller in the area told the Orange County Register that Clark has long feuded with a neighbor and other cabin owners. Clark reportedly ran through the area last week screaming, and sent one neighbor an email warning that ``this place will burn,'' Milligan said. If convicted, the charges could bring Clark a life prison sentence.

Two firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries Monday.  A U.S. Forest Service spokesman said more than a dozen cabins in the suspect’s neighborhood had burned. The suspect’s cabin, however, was not damaged by the fire, the Orange County Register reported.

The Southern California Air Quality Management District issued a smoke
advisory for Thursday in Orange County and portions of Riverside and San
Bernardino counties because of the Holy fire.
   All schools in the Menifee Unified School District will be closed
Thursday due to poor air quality caused by the fire.

In Riverside County, mandatory evacuation orders were issued for McVicker Canyon, Rice Canyon, Horsethief Canyon, Glen Eden, El Cariso Village, Sycamore Creek and Rancho Capistrano, along with the Ortega (74) Highway corridor between Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capitstrano. Those areas had previously been under voluntary evacuation orders.    Caltrans ordered the complete closure of Ortega Highway 74 because of the proximity of the brush fire to the two-lane corridor. California Highway
Patrol officers implemented the closure from Grand Avenue in Lake Elsinore to
the Nichols Institute entrance in San Juan Capistrano in Orange County,
covering about 28 miles.

A care and reception center was established at Temescal Canyon High
School on El Toro Road in Lake Elsinore.  Small animals can be taken to Animal Friends of the Valley at 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar.  Livestock was being accepted at Elsinore High School in the 21800 block of Canyon Drive.