Thousands moved out the path of a "Holy Fire" in California

Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Ranch Fire part of the Mendocino Complex Fire on Tuesday Aug. 7 2018 near Ladoga Calif

The Associated Press

Despite mandatory evacuation orders, Castro stayed behind to protect his Lake Elsinore home from looters, he said.

The Holy Fire - named for Holy Jim Canyon where it began is one of almost 20 blazes across California.

Many schools have been forced to close, and more evacuation orders were being issued.

The man accused of deliberately starting the latest fast-moving blaze faces life in prison if convicted of arson and other charges.

He was scheduled to appear in court that day, but refused to leave his cell.

According to CAL FIRE, 1,077 residences and 22 commercial structures have been destroyed in the fire.

During a court appearance Friday, the man accused of starting the wildfire raging across Southern California claimed he could "easily" come up with his $1 million bond - and made several other unusual outbursts. But firefighters also made progress, with containment doubling from 5 to 10 percent. The Miramonte jail camp made a fire line to stop the advancing Holy Fire from consuming homes in the area.

The fire is burning about an hour east of the ocean near the town of Lake Elsinore.

Fire officials warned residents to heed evacuation orders.

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When the judge described his right to a preliminary hearing, Clark said, "I do not understand, though I will say, "yay" at this time".

A large swath of homes, however, was bathed fire retardant, creating the appearance of a bright red river cutting through the threatened neighborhood.

Michael Milligan, chief of the Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Department, has told the Orange County Register that Clark had a decade-long feud with neighbors and had sent him threatening emails last week, including one that said, "This place will burn".

But the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says Thursday it will still take several weeks to fully surround the massive wildfire in Northern California, called the Mendocino Complex Fire, because it's burning in steep terrain that's hard to reach.

"Extreme fire behaviour was observed to the north and east portions of the fire".

The next morning, Milligan said, he got a mysterious text from an unknown number: "911 call sheriff".

Forest officials said the 21,473-acre Holy Fire was 29 percent contained-triple the estimate from the night before.

Clark spoke to a videographer from OnScene outside his Holy Jim Canyon prior to his arrest, insisting he had nothing to do with the fire. The sprawling Mendocino Complex fire in Lake County, which became the largest in state history earlier this week, had grown to 304,402 acres as of Thursday morning, officials said. The fire more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Sacramento has destroyed more than 100 homes and blackened an area about the size of Los Angeles.

"Firefighters continue to battle the blaze around the clock", the national forest tweet said.

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