Local firefighters help provide structure and property protection along Oak Drive and Buck Mountain Road during a vegetation fire which burned one structure and several acres of land., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, near Alta Sierra, Calif. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP)

Cooler weather helps crews fight Southern California wildfire

The Holy Fire has destroyed 16 structures in the Cleveland National Forest

Aided by slightly cooler temperatures, firefighters made steady progress Sunday in battling a wildfire that destroyed 16 structures as it raged through Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest.

The Holy Fire was 41 per cent contained Sunday afternoon after burning across 92 kilometres of dry timber and brush, said Lynne Tolmachoff of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“The weather out here in California seems to be cooling down today and over the next couple days, and that should hopefully help firefighters get even more containment,” Tolmachoff said. “They should make better progress over the next couple of days.”

They’ll need to, with temperatures, expected to again reach 100 degrees or more by the end of the week.

The Holy Fire — named for Holy Jim Canyon, where it began last Monday — is one of nearly 20 blazes burning across California as the state sees earlier, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons because of drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into forests.

With firefighters beginning to get a better handle on the blaze, they began to lift evacuation orders over the weekend for areas previously in its path, said Tolmachoff, who did not have exact numbers. More than 20,000 people were reportedly told to evacuate at one point.

READ MORE: Battling 18 blazes, California may face worst fire season yet

Aircraft have made flight after flight, dumping water and bright pink retardant on the blaze to protect Lake Elsinore and other foothill communities near the flames.

The man accused of deliberately starting the fire appeared in court on Friday, but his arraignment was postponed.

Forrest Clark, 51, made several outbursts, claiming his life was being threatened and saying the arson charge against him was a lie. A court commissioner ordered his bail to remain at $1 million.

Elsewhere, the largest wildfire ever recorded in California — the Mendocino Complex — burning north of Sacramento destroyed more than 100 homes. It was nearly 70 per cent contained. On Sunday, it had covered 525 square miles (1,359 square kilometres).

The two-week-old Carr Fire that killed eight people and burned more than 1,000 homes was more than 50 per cent contained on Saturday.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nelson Leafs’ win marred by dangerous play

Nelson is undefeated through the first five games of the season

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Slocan seniors’ housing hosts grand opening Sept. 27

The society wants to give the public a glimpse before tenants move in and the weather changes.

LETTERS: Tom Fletcher analysis is as outdated as the Edsel

Dona grace-Campbell takes issue with columnist Tom Fletcher’s column on the carbon tax

VIDEO: Lydia Kania is here to skunk you

The Vallican track athlete has turned to cribbage in her senior years

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

WHL: Kootenay Ice drop Calgary Hitmen 5-3 in home opener

Youth take centre stage as Kootenay explodes for three second-period goals

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Most Read