California wildfires raging perilously close to thousands of homes

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

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

The volunteer fire chief also noted that all of the residents in the 14 cabins in Holy Jim Canyon were afraid of Clark.

Two firefighters have been injured.

"It's my house, my capitol, my kingdom, I don't want to just leave it", said resident Belal Abdullah. He alerted the US Forest Service that, "You have to do something or he's gonna kill someone or burn this place down".

More than 21,000 people have been evacuated in and around Lake Elsinore, where furious flames and billowing smoke rose into the sky at the edge of the city of 60,000 as the blaze burned nearby in the Santa Ana Mountains.

The next morning, Milligan said, he got a mysterious text from an unknown number: "911 call sheriff". "Why the hell didn't they respond".

"We have a responsibility to ensure that any large gathering is safe and being conducted legally", Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured images of smoke from these fires from space earlier this week, showing the smoke's eastward shift and massive reach.

More than 2,000 properties are at direct risk of the Holy Fire, which is 70 miles south-east of Los Angeles.

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, was being held at the Orange County Jail on Wednesday on suspicion of two counts of felony arson, a count of felony threat to terrorize and misdemeanor resisting arrest, the national forest said via Twitter.

A spokesperson for the incident management team said the fire grew close to El Cariso Village up on the hill above Lake Elsinore but it had not crossed the Ortega Highway, SR 74.

"This is a monster".

A man charged with intentionally setting the fire is scheduled for arraignment on Friday.

Witness statements, physical evidence and burn patterns connected the man to the fire, said Shane Sherwood with the Orange County Fire Authority.

They are deployed statewide and led by Cal Fire.

They do similar work to any firefighter, working long hours and sleeping in camps with other inmates.

The BBC's Peter Bowes in Los Angeles says high temperatures, gusty winds and tinder dry brush have fuelled the disaster in Orange County.

Before he was arrested, Clark told a cameraman he was asleep when the fire started and had no idea how it began.

It was not clear whether Clark had retained an attorney.

Clark spoke to a stringer photographer with OnScene outside his cabin, insisting he had nothing to do with the fire. On Tuesday, he stripped off his camouflage underwear in public, the paper reported.

Clark was involuntarily committed in 1996 for mental illness, the Post reports.

Residents in states like Missouri, Ohio, Mississippi, Virginia and even NY and MA can see the smoke manifest itself through grey skies and vibrant sunsets, the National Weather Service says.

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer said the suspect "needs to suffer the fullest punishment of the law". "It's hard to see this", Root says of her family home.

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