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Firefighters fought a desperate battle to stop the Holy Fire from reaching homes.

Cal Fire San Luis Obispo posted on twitter Thursday that Strike Team 9341C is stationed in neighborhoods defending structures at the Holy Fire.

A Southern California wildfire - which authorities say was set by an arsonist with a grudge against a neighbour - doubled in size overnight into Friday as crews built fire lines and fought to protect thousands of homes in a lakefront community.

A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection mechanic who was assigned to the Carr fire died in a vehicle crash in Tehama County early Thursday morning, the eighth death connected to the furious blaze that has scorched roughly 177,000 acres in the Redding area, officials said.

More than 14,000 firefighters are spread out across the state as well as army personnel, inmates, the national guard, reinforcements from other states and from New Zealand and Australia.

"I can handle a million right now easily", the arson suspect said. "We continue to actively engage, but can not get ahead of the fire", it said.

Along with Pritchett's home, the Holy Fire burned 12 cabins at its origin in the community of Holy Jim on Monday.

According to state fire officials, California's fire expenses have more than trebled from $242m in 2013 to $773m in the 2018 fiscal year ending on 30 June.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the two counties.

"I was asleep. I had two earplugs in", he said, according to a report by KABC-TV. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. It was 51 percent contained with firefighters struggling in steep terrain to control it, CalFire said.




North of Sacramento, crews were gaining the upper hand on massively destructive fires even as new ones forced more evacuations and the weather forecast called for hot, dry, gusty weather.

Before his arrest, Clark told a reporter he had nothing to with the fire.

Ron Lugton, who works at Fall River Valley Golf & Country Club, said the fire is about 7 miles from his work on Highway 299.

The Holy Fire, is burning to the east of Trabuco Canyon near the border of Orange County and Riverside County within the Cleveland National Forest.

He claimed during the interview that he was the target of threats from the MS-13 gang.

No more homes were torched on Friday but some 20,000 people remained under evacuation orders.

The two-week-old Carr Fire that killed six people and burned more than 1,000 homes was 51 per cent contained.

The fires all grew explosively in the past two weeks as winds whipped the flames through forest and rural areas full of timber and brush that is bone-dry from years of drought and a summer of record-breaking heat.

The Department of the Interior oversees the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service, while the Department of Agriculture manages the National Forest Service, which collectively oversee much of the federal land in California.


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