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Grass, brush and trees are so dry from years of drought and recent heat that the potential remains for the fire to grow.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued a smoke advisory for most of Southern California through Thursday morning, August 9.

Shannon Hicks, 59, defied an evacuation order and watched in awe as firefighters faced down a storm of flames that descended toward her street in the city of Lake Elsinore.

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

Unless conditions improve significantly, MDAQMD expects to keep the smoke advisory in place over the weekend and will reassess the situation on Monday morning.

Video filmed from a housing complex by Cary Bilstein, a recruitment industry specialist in Orange County, shows fires burning through foliage in the hills above the homes while a number of planes circle overhead. Some communities in Riverside County are under mandatory evacuation orders affecting about 7,500 residential structures, according to authorities.

Jerry Brown on Thursday night declared a state of emergency for two counties near Los Angeles as a nearby fire spread to cover more than 10,000 acres.

Police have arrested and charged the man suspected of starting the "Holy Fire" that has destroyed up to 14 structures, Orange County District Attorney's office said.

"Arson is a awful crime that destroys dreams", said Susan Schroeder of the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

"In a text, he said this place 'is going to burn just like we planned, '" Milligan told the Post.

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Before his arrest, Clark told a reporter he had been asleep at the time and had nothing to with the fire.

Scattered thunderstorms could hit the area as temperatures hover around 91 to 97 degrees, the website said.

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer didn't mince words at a news conference Wednesday.

Residents are scared and fleeing their homes, he said. "They're putting everything they can in the back of their cars as quickly as possible". The late Rick Gale, who over several decades fought some of the largest wildland fires as a Type 1 Incident Commander and Area Commander, would say, "Don't choose the NEXT RIDGE, choose the BEST RIDGE", even if it is miles away.

More than 600 firefighters are battling the Holy fire, which is one of at least 18 wildfires raging across California.

Craig Cottrill, chief of the Wellington Fire Department in New Zealand, said his country doesn't see fires almost as big as California's.

About 5.4 million acres (2.2 million hectares) have been blackened in more than a dozen states during this year's extremely active wildfire season, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The second largest is the Carr Fire, which has burned more than 176,000 acres, and has killed seven people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

The biggest fire now is the Mendocino Complex fire, which actually consists of two big fires - the Ranch Fire and the River Fire - that together have consumed more than 300,000 acres. Two weeks ago, he came to Milligan's home to return items he "borrowed" from the fire department, the volunteer fire chief said.