Holy Fire: High heat fuels wildfire in Cleveland National Forest; evacuation orders issued

Posted at 7:46 AM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 19:51:29-04

(KGTV) - The fast-moving Holy Fire is ripping its way through the Cleveland National Forest for a third straight day, taking down thousands of acres as high temperatures and low humidity plague the region.

U.S. Forest Service officials said the Holy Fire, which erupted Monday afternoon near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads in the Orange County area, has burned at least 6,200 acres and is 5 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon.

Officials said 383 firefighting personnel are assigned to battle the wildfire. Ten helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft are working to support ground personnel.

PHOTOS: Holy Fire burning in Orange County continues to grow

Watch officials give an update on the Holy Fire:

In a statement, officials said: “Fire will continue to spread southeast and north with only limited spread to the west. The lack of resources for direct attack will allow the fire to spread into new areas, and align for strong head-fire runs and the potential for an ‘Elsinore’ down slope event. Over the next 24 hours, there is a slight possibility of monsoonal flow over the area that could bring some increase in relative humidity and a cooling of a few degrees.”

INTERACTIVE MAP: Where the Holy Fire is burning

Authorities say 51-year-old Forrest Gordon Clark was arrested on suspicion of felony arson and other charges related to the Holy Fire investigation. Read more.

No major injuries have been reported, and at least one structure was destroyed in the blaze.


U.S Forest Service officials said an Excessive Heat Warning was issued for the fire area. Weather conditions with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and relative humidity below 15 percent will provide conditions conducive to extreme fire behavior as well as heat illnesses for the firefighters, officials added.

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Mandatory evacuation orders have been given for the following areas and communities:

  • Trabuco and Holy Jim canyons
  • Blue Jay and El Cariso campgrounds.
  • All campgrounds in the Trabuco Ranger District were closed and forest road closures were in effect for Trabuco Creek, Maple Springs, North Main Divide, Bedford and Indian Truck Trail.
  • The communities of McVickers, Rice Canyon, Horsethief, Glen Eden, El Cariso Village, Sycamore Creek, Painted Canyon, and Rancho Capistrano have also been issue mandatory evacuations.
  • Ortega Highway corridor from Lookout Restaurant to Nichols Institute.


Lake Elsinore is not under an evacuation warning, the U.S. Forest Service said.

A care and reception center was established at Temescal Canyon High School on El Toro Road in Lake Elsinore.

Small Animals can be evacuated to Animal Friends of the Valley at 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar. Information was available by calling (951) 674-0618 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or (951) 506-5069 between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The fire was burning downhill toward the Main Divide forest road at a "moderate rate of speed," within sight of Corona, El Cerrito and Glen Ivy Hot Springs, according to the U.S. Forest Service.