Holy Fire burns over 9,600 acres as it moves close to SoCal homes

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Thursday, August 9, 2018
Holy Fire now 9,600 acres near Lake Elsinore-Corona area
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The Holy Fire has exploded to more than 9,600 acres on Thursday and is moving dangerously close to homes in Riverside County's Lake Elsinore-Corona area.

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- The Holy Fire has exploded to more than 9,600 acres on Thursday and is moving dangerously close to homes in Riverside County's Lake Elsinore-Corona area.

The brush fire, located in the Cleveland National Forest, is still at 5 percent containment while on its fourth day.

A smoke-filled sky blanketed over communities in the Lake Elsinore area in the early morning hours as hundreds of firefighters remained on the front lines.

The Holy Fire continues to burn toward Horsethief Canyon, Cow Canyon and McVicker Drainage. There is a possibility of monsoonal flow, which may contribute to an increase in relative humidity and cool temperatures slightly, according to fire officials.

Ten helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft are assisting the firefighters.

RELATED: Suspect arrested in connection to 6,200-acre SoCal blaze

Officials had lowered the acreage of the fire to 3,399 acres on Tuesday but raised it to 6,200 acres Wednesday afternoon. The size then exploded to 9,614 acres, Cleveland National Forest officials announced Thursday.

No major injuries have been reported. Twelve structures have been destroyed.

The official cause of the fire remains unknown but on Wednesday, authorities arrested 51-year-old Forrest Gordon Clark on suspicion of felony arson among other charges in connection to the blaze. He is being held on $1 million bail and faces life in prison if convicted of all charges.

The flames have caused a smoke advisory to be issued for Orange and parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

School closures:

-All Menifee Union District and Perris High School Union schools announced they would shut down Thursday, citing the poor air quality.

-Other schools that are closed include: Luiseno School, Rice Canyon Elementary, Terra Cota Middle School and Withrow Elementary.

Mandatory evacuations:

- McVicker Canyon, Rice Canyon, Horsethief Canyon, El Cariso, Rancho Capistrano, Blue Jay, Indian Canyon, Glen Eden, Sycamore Creek and Mayhew Canyon.

A care and reception center is available at Temescal Canyon High School, 28755 El Toro Rd Lake Elsinore CA 92532 for residents. There is also an evacuation center at the San Juan Hills High School, located at 29211 Stallion Ridge, San Juan Capistrano.

Voluntary evacuation warnings:

- Highway 74 (Ortega Highway) west from Lookout Restaurant to Nichols Institute and all connecting roads in the communities of Rancho Capistrano, El Cariso Village and Blue Jay. Residents are advised to exit west to Orange County to avoid fire equipment coming up on the Elsinore side.

-Highway 74 eastbound is also closed.

The fire has been burning since Monday, when it was first reported around 1:30 p.m. near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads - across the main divide between Orange and Riverside counties.