Holy Fire: A New Burn [Update]

New flames on Santiago, possibly from the Holy Fire. Photo Shehan Liyanage

One day after a false report declared that the Holy Fire was out for good, sparks rekindled near Santiago Peak yesterday afternoon. So far, this new fire has burned 150 acres, and is threatening the communications towers atop Santiago Peak.

The US Forest Service (USFS) is again heading the fight, and says five fixed wing aircraft, three helicopters, eight hand crews, and five fire engines have been dispatched to fight the new blaze.

Jake Rodriguez (Public Information Officer for the USFS) is hopeful that the fire will not burn further into OC. “A majority on the western flank has been slowed as it moved into Orange County,” Rodriguez said. On the eastern flank, the blaze is burning toward areas which were already burned by the fire. “We’re confident they’ll be able to put it out.”

Rodriguez said that fire crews are investigating the cause of the fire to determine if today’s fire is a flare up from the Holy Fire, or a new burn altogether.

The Holy Fire has burned 22,886 acres, according to the USFS. Only the 2007 Silverado Canyon Fire (28,000 acres and 14 homes destroyed) and the 2008 Freeway Complex Fires (187 homes destroyed)  have been more destructive to OC in the past 20 years.

Scorched hillsides near Blue Jay campsite off Ortega Highway

George Lippincott has been a resident of Lake Elsinore for 40 years. In that time he’s seen endless fires along the Santa Ana Mountains. Lippincott believed the fire died out yesterday, and was surprised to see smoke. The Holy Fire reached to within two miles from Lippincott’s home in Riverside County, and he’s hopeful that firecrews will keep his home safe.

Meanwhile, the trial for the man arrested on suspicion of starting the Holy Fire, Forrest Gordon Clark, has been delayed. Clark–better known as White Trash Jesus–paced frantically, and rambled about the symbolism of an attorney’s red tie when he appeared in court on August 17. During the hearing, Clark stated, “I would like this to be recorded because that’s my live energy that is being transmitted; and as a secure party creditor, I transmit live energy. I’m a Pacific Utility.” Judge Kimberly Menninger believed that Clark was unfit to stand trial, and ruled that Clark’s criminal proceedings will be suspended until after he’s been examined by two doctors.

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