California wildfire said set by arsonist threatens community

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About 100 miles (160 km) southwest of the Carr Fire, almost 4,000 firefighters are battling the Mendocino Complex Fire, which has burned 307,000 acres (124,240 hectares) to become the largest fire on record in California. He also faces sentencing enhancements for arson of multiple structures.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the flames, which have charred more than 18,000 acres (7,280 hectares).

If large gatherings take place, police will ask people to leave and Johnson said they will be making arrests or issuing tickets for minor, illegal activity such as drinking outside, smoking marijuana and playing music too loud.

Aircraft dropped liquid that suppresses flames as people sprayed their houses with water from garden hoses when the blaze south of Los Angeles flared again Thursday evening, propelled by 20-mph (30-kph) gusts.

Since it erupted Monday afternoon, the blaze has destroyed a dozen cabins in the Holy Jim Canyon area of the Cleveland National Forest and advanced into Riverside County.

California prisoners also are fighting fires.

Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Milligan, another resident of the canyon, said he's known Clark for 20 years and that he's had a history of mental illness and hospitalization. Andy Edman, chief of the science technology infusion division at the National Weather Service, says small particles of smoke that come from the fires can stay in the air and move through the Earth's atmosphere - all the way to the East Coast.

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According to WGN9, Clark told a cameraman he was asleep when the fire started.

Clark is being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million bail and is expected to make a court appearance Friday.

The blaze, north of San Francisco, has grown to the size of Los Angeles since it started two weeks ago. "If you don't do something he's going to kill somebody or burn something down", he wrote in an email about Clark. Firefighters fought a desperate battle to stop the Holy Fire from reaching homes.

Clark spoke to a stringer photographer with OnScene outside his cabin, insisting he had nothing to do with the fire.

A spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office said Clark had previously made threats against a neighbour, but declined to elaborate.

Onlookers are silhouetted against the reflection of a wildfire burning in the Cleveland National Forest in Lake Elsinore late Wednesday. "Who would go out with low humidity and high winds and the highest heat temperatures this time of the year and intentionally set the forest on fire?". The fire destroyed more than 100 homes and has blackened an area about the size of the city of Los Angeles.

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