Police have arrested and charged the man suspected of starting the “Holy Fire” that has destroyed up to 14 structures, Orange County District Attorney’s office said.
Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, was charged with two counts of felony arson, one count of felony threat to terrorize, and one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest on Thursday. If convicted he faces up to life in prison. He is currently being held on $1 million bail.
According to CNN reports, Clark texted Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Milligan two weeks ago saying “the place is going to burn”.
The Holy Fire has already burned over 18,000 acres since it began at the Cleveland National Forest’s Trabuco Canyon, near Orange County, on Monday afternoon. The blaze has quickly spread to Riverside County and it remains only 5% contained, U.S. Forest Service officials said Friday. The fire has grown quickly because of high temperatures and the area’s steep terrain, according to the Cleveland National Forest. It has caused the evacuation of over 20,000 homes in Southern California.
The Holy Fire is just one of the wildfires currently ravaging California. The Mendocino Complex Fire has burned through over 290,000 acres in Northern California and as of last week was named the largest wildfire in California history.