California fire threatens retirement community

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LOS ANGELES, Aug 13, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – One of the fires scorching
California Sunday moved in on a retirement community, prompting evacuation
orders for thousands of people.

Residents of the Trilogy Glen Ivy community located between the Santa Ana
Mountains and a major highway who have trouble driving in the dark were urged
to leave immediately to escape the wrath of the Holy Fire, which has already
burned through 22,714 acres (9,192 hectares) and is 41 percent contained.

The US Forest Service estimates that around 3,700 homes and structures
have been evacuated, or around 11,120 people.

Nearly 1,500 firefighters — supported by some inmates from a local jail –
– are battling that blaze, as it spread to the north and east, prompting a
new round of evacuations.

Across California, firefighters reported making significant progress
against some of the huge wildfires raging across the most populous state, but
were bracing for more of the soaring temperatures, dry air and gusty winds
that have made their job so tough.

Some of the worst fires slowed over the weekend.

The so-called Mendocino Complex north of state capital Sacramento —
including the River and Ranch fires, which together form the largest blaze in
state history — burned 3,100 acres overnight, just one fourth the previous
night’s toll, according to local media.

The Carr fire in the north, which has destroyed more than 1,000 homes,
grew only modestly overnight, as containment lines improved.

– Steep terrain –

Their task was complicated by steep terrain making it difficult for fire
trucks to approach. More than 25 aircraft were being used to drop water and
fire-retardant chemicals.

Some 18 blazes are continuing to scorch wide swathes of California.

The Ranch fire, part of the Mendocino Complex, was 58 percent contained as
of Saturday, while the River Fire was 92 percent contained, news media
reported. The two blazes have devastated an area of more than 325,000 acres
so far.

Authorities have charged a 51-year-old man, Forrest Gordon Clark, with
multiple arson-related charges in connection with the Holy Fire.

A court set bail at $1 million for Clark, who has had repeated encounters
with local police over the years.

Clark could face anywhere from 10 years to life in prison if convicted. He
rejected the charges during an erratic court appearance, calling them a
“lie.”

He said he could easily afford bail and asked if he could pay it right
away.

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