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. At least 17 major wildfires were burning across California on Thursday, with the Holy Fire dwarfed by other blazes farther north.
Jonathan Vigliotti reports from Lake Elsinore, California.
California is seeing earlier, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons because of drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into the forests. It was 51 percent contained on Friday.
When asked if he knew how the fire started, Clark said he had no idea. On July 21, he and Republican Rep. Tom McClintock visited the incident command post for the Ferguson Fire just outside of Yosemite National Park.
"Smoke from the western fires is making it all the way to the East Coast and beyond", the National Weather Service said in a tweet.
The arraignment for Forrest Clark was supposed to be today, but the judge in the case said the suspect refused to go to court.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said the area has few natural barriers to slow flames and terrain that firefighters can't get to.
The fire started several days ago near Holy Jim Canyon in Orange County, allegedly on goal by a local resident.
Forrest Clark, 51, was arrested and charged with arson in relation to one of the wildfires burning in California.
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More than 1,000 firefighters, using 10 helicopters and seven additional aircraft, remain on the front lines battling the blaze, ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV reported.
Residents flee a neighborhood with their belongings after a spot fire broke out at the Holy Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, southeast of Los Angeles, on August 10, 2018.
His wife and their two daughters have left but the 38-year-old said: 'Until this thing is barking at my door, I'm going to stick with it'.
He claimed during the interview that he was the target of threats from the MS-13 gang. He is being held on $1 million bail and faces life in prison if convicted.
Lake Elsinore Mayor Natasha Johnson and her family were among the families evacuating Thursday, Councilman Bob Magee said at a community meeting about the fire.
Two firefighters have been treated for heat-related injuries in the Holy Fire.
Although the fire - named for the canyon where it started - destroyed a dozen cabins after breaking out Monday, fire crews were able to prevent further losses, but the fire was still virtually uncontrolled as its growth nullified progress in corralling it.
Authorities have issued mandatory evacuation orders and one person has been arrested in connection with one of the blazes.
A fire that broke out off Highway 299 in eastern Shasta County in the Fall River Mills region was spreading at a "critical rate" and forcing road closures in the area Thursday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.