As of today, there are 17 wildfires burning in California.
In late July, I reported on the Cranston Fire, which was reportedly started by an arsonist and is now nearing containment. Brandon McGlover, 32, now faces life in prison for setting the blaze that ultimately forced 6,000 from their homes and threatened another 4,900 structures.

Now, a second suspected arsonist has been arrested, this one accused of setting the Holy Fire now burning in Orange County.

A man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the Holy Fire, which has burned over 4,000 acres in the Cleveland National Forest.

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, was booked into the Orange County Jail on suspicion of two counts of felony arson, one count of felony threat to terrorize, and one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest. If convicted on all of the charges he faces, Clark could be behind bars for life.

He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is set to be arraigned Thursday. Officials do not believe Clark is connected to any other fires in Orange County.

More than 600 firefighters, all of whom could have been sent to the other 16 fires, are now fighting this inferno. Two of those responders have been treated for heat-related injuries.

It appears Clark sent out a warning email that he was going to set the fire.

A man who sent an email warning “this place will burn” has been arrested in connection with the Holy fire on suspicion of two counts of arson, one count of felony threat to terrorize, and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.

…Clark owns a cabin in the area that was devastated by the flames. Of the several cabins in the area where he lives, Clark’s is the only one still standing. Deputies arrived at Cabin 14, where Clark has lived for more than a decade, around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. He was questioned again and arrested Tuesday night.

…Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Milligan said he received threatening emails from Clark last week.

“He has issues,” Milligan said. “I hope they get him.”

To get a better appreciation of the challenges the community faced from Clark, here is a video interview made of him after the fire started but before his arrest:

In other wildfire news, Yosemite National Park remains closed indefinitely, the Mendocino Complex Fire is officially the largest in state’s history, and smoke now covers 3/4 of the state.

I sure hope our two gubernatorial candidates can offer solutions to prevent destruction on such a vast scale again, beyond the platitudes associated with climate change. For example, allowing the timber industry to actually do its job.

…Despite opposition from some environmental groups, there’s talk of the need to remove more barriers to logging given that wildfires have become bigger, deadlier and faster moving. California’s timber laws are considered the most stringent in the nation.

“You’ve got a lot of fuel, you’ve got dead and dying trees, and a lot of hot weather — and it’s a recipe for disaster,” said Assemblyman Jim Wood of Healdsburg in Sonoma County, a member of the Senate and Assembly conference committee on wildfire preparedness and response.

Additionally, a proposal to address the threat to public safety that some mentally ill people present would be a welcome campaign plank.

Prayers for the success of our firefighters and their support teams.


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