Fri. May 29th, 2020

#HolyFire Arson Suspect In Custody, As Latest Of 18 Fires In Calif. Grows In Orange County

An arson suspect was held on $1 million bail Wednesday as a fast-moving wildfire spread from Orange County to Riverside County, burning more than 6,200 acres, forcing evacuations and destroying structures. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Holy Fire was just 5 percent contained.

Officials said Forrest Gordon Clark was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of two counts of felony arson, one felony count of threat to terrorize and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.


During a Wednesday afternoon briefing, Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Shane Sherwood said the fire began “around and near” Clark’s cabin Monday in Holy Jim Canyon. He declined to comment on specifics that led to his arrest, other than saying witness statements and “physical findings” at the scene led to the belief Clark set off the massive blaze.

“As far as exactly how it was started, we’re still working through some of that evidence,” Sherwood said.


Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Milligan, who also lives in the area, told the Orange County Register that Clark has long feuded with a neighbor and other cabin owners. He ran through the area last week screaming, and sent Milligan an email warning that “this place will burn,” Milligan said.



Clark is tentatively expected to appear in court Thursday. A spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said he is expected to be charged with aggravated arson affecting multiple structures, criminal threats and resisting an executive officer — charges that could bring a life prison sentence.


A U.S. Forest Service spokesman said more than a dozen cabins in Clark’s neighborhood had burned. Clark’s cabin, however, was not damaged by the fire, the Orange County Register reported.

Sherwood declined to comment on that report.


Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  AP
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