Holy Fire in pictures: Apocalyptic scenes as wildfires rage in California

Firefighters conduct a controlled burn to defend houses against flames from the Ranch Fire part of the Mendocino Complex Fire

The fire threatened communities near the inland resort of Lake Elsinore in Riverside County, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles.

"It's my house, my capitol, my kingdom, I don't want to just leave it", said resident Belal Abdullah.

At least 20,000 foothill and canyon residents have evacuated as a growing wildfire churns through the Cleveland National Forest south of Los Angeles.

The fires in California have burned close to 749,770 acres, which is more than double the size of Los Angeles, CNN reported.

Facebook Clark is accused of starting the Holy Fire that has burned almost 20,000 acres in Southern California and is only 5 percent contained.

Those on the ground get help from more than 1,000 fire engines, 59 bulldozers, 22 air tankers, 17 airplanes, 12 helicopters and 11 mobile kitchens.

And authorities said things will only get worse, with the area forecast to have temperatures in the 90s and gusty winds of up to 25 miles per hour.

According to the National Weather Service, smoke from the fires has actually made it's way across the country - all the way to the East Coast.

Footage of the arrest shows the suspect standing in handcuffs without a shirt on as his neighbors' homes burn.

"Years ago, a large gathering really had to be advertised for it to become a large gathering", Johnson said, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

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Johnson said the parties quickly get big and raucous, in part, because of social media.

Firefighters fought a desperate battle as huge flames came within metres of some homes, feeding on dense, dry chaparral and propelled by 30-km/h gusts.

Milligan, who has known Clark for two decades, was the one to receive the text from Clark that said "it's all going to burn".

Milligan said he did not know what he meant, adding that Clark sent emails to other people in which he talked about burning something.

Forrest Clark, 51, was supposed to be in court on Thursday, but he refused to go. The 51-year-old Trabuco Canyon resident now faces the possibility of life in state prison.

Forrest Clark, the man who allegedly started the Holy Fire, pushed back against the claims before he was arrested. They want to encircle the fire before it can devour neighbourhoods and take lives, as enormous fires still burning in northern California have done. Other major fires, such as the Ferguson Fire burning near Yosemite, have also wreaked havoc.

A Cal Fire heavy equipment mechanic who was helping fight the Carr Fire was killed in a vehicle accident, authorities say.

Zinke made no mention of water access in an op-ed he wrote for USA Today Wednesday on the extreme fires ripping through the Western United States.

Hundreds more firefighters joined the effort, bringing the total to 1,200. It has burned 305,152 acres and injured two firefighters, and was 52% contained by Thursday night. Two other people - a state fire heavy equipment mechanic assigned to the fire and a utility worker trying to restore power near the fire- have died in auto accidents.

Fires also continue to rage in Northern California. More than 550,000 acres have burned in the last three weeks.

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