Southern California’s ‘Holy Fire’ has burned 9,614 acres, suspected arsonist under arrest

The Ranch Fire spots out ahead of the main fire in Spring Valley Calif. Monday Aug. 6 2018

Hundreds of firefighters were building barriers and constructing containment lines early on Friday to slow an approaching wildfire threatening to torch thousands of homes in a lakeside community southeast of Los Angeles.

Though it's exploded in size, more firefighters are fighting a fire near Redding that has killed six people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses.

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.

Last September, smoke from other deadly and destructive California wildfires floated across the US via the jet stream. The 51-year-old Trabuco Canyon resident now faces the possibility of life in state prison.

The blaze has destroyed 119 homes but none in recent days. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the area.

No more homes were torched on Friday but some 20,000 people remained under evacuation orders.

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.

"Extreme fire behaviour was observed to the north and east portions of the fire".

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, was arrested in connection with Southern California's Holy Fire.

According to Orange County officials, Mr Clark had emailed the local volunteer fire chief to threaten "this place will burn".

Sherwood said no witnesses have come forward saying they saw Clark start the fire, but the area of origin is around his residence.

The Holy Fire was only 5 per cent contained yesterday.

He claimed during the interview that he was the target of threats from the MS-13 gang.

In addition to the Holy Fire, firefighters in California are battling 15 large blazes. 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.

Crews turned a corner in their battle against Northern California's Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest-ever in California, getting it halfway contained.

The US National Weather Service says smoke from weeks of California wildfires, and others burning in the western US, has drifted over a vast area, affecting air quality "across the northern Rockies into western and central Canada and south over the northern Plains".

"I'm pissed, I'm outraged, I'm disgusted", Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson told CBS News. Five civilians, including a PG&E worker, have also died in the fire.

The haze stretches to the Sierra Nevada mountain range and almost every major population center in between has suffered air quality considered unsafe for children, the elderly and people with asthma.

The sheer size of the fires is numbing in a state that is still reeling from enormous blazes past year and has yet to hit its historically most unsafe months.

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