Crews make progress battling Southern California wildfire

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

Firefighters monitor a burn operation on top of a ridge near the town of Ladoga Calif. on Aug. 7

The so-called Holy Fire has chewed through 28 square miles (72 square kilometers) of dense chaparral and is only partially contained. A sheriff's deputy banged on his door and told him it would only get worse.

"I turned to him and said, 'Let's go, '" Pritchett said. "I thought, there's no way they're saving my house".

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

Crews braced for "extreme fire behavior" over the weekend, according to the federal fire information website InciWeb. "With the number of resources we have assigned to this incident, the number of utility companies that are actively engaged and the number of residents we are (repopulating, ) that number is going to increase tenfold".

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency as a wildfire that forced 21,000 people from their homes continues to rage south of Los Angeles.

Scattered thunderstorms could hit the area as temperatures hover around 91 to 97 degrees, the website said. Andy Edman, chief of the science technology infusion division at the National Weather Service, says small particles of smoke that come from the fires can stay in the air and move through the Earth's atmosphere - all the way to the East Coast.

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He was charged with arson, felony threat to terrorise and resisting arrest.

Before it began, Clark reportedly sent an email to a neighbor that said, "This place will burn".

Milligan said he was so wary of the suspect that he avoided going to the area of the remote Orange County canyon where he lives. "I can handle a million right now, easily". Milligan called back and though the reception was poor in the canyon, he recognized Clark's voice, he said.

"Its all gonna burn just like u planned!"

The man accused of deliberately starting the latest fast-moving blaze faces life in prison if convicted of arson and other charges.

Before he was arrested, Clark told a cameraman he was asleep and had no clue how it started.

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Those lines have kept the southern edge of the fire from spreading into residential areas on the east side of the lake. Other major fires, such as the Ferguson Fire burning near Yosemite, have also wreaked havoc.

"This is a monster", Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer said on August 8, NPR reported.

After nearly a month of wildfires, the National Weather Service warned that satellite images showed "widespread smoke" drifting from the fires into western and central Canada before heading back south in the US Northern Plains.

But the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says Thursday it will still take several weeks to fully surround the massive wildfire in Northern California, called the Mendocino Complex Fire, because it's burning in steep terrain that's hard to reach.

Meanwhile north of San Francisco, the Mendocino Complex - the largest recorded fire in California history - is 60 percent contained. Burning through nearly 177,450 acres, it was 48% contained on Thursday.

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