California wildfires raging perilously close to thousands of homes

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The webcam still from the Holy Fire, from the University of California at San Diego, is just one of a number of stunning images capturing these flying tankers.

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

Crews braced for "extreme fire behavior" over the weekend, according to the federal fire information website InciWeb.

As CNN reports, the most recent forecasts from the National Weather Service clearly show the towers of smoke from the wildfires on the West Coast finding their way all the way across the United States.

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

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as the fire carved its way along ridges in Cleveland National Forest south of Los Angeles.

The fire grew to almost 77 square kilometers after almost doubling in size overnight.

Flames are creeping down hillsides toward homes in the city of Lake Elsinore, where crews are prepared to provide structure protection.

As of Friday evening, more than 21,000 people remained under evacuation orders.

The fire has destroyed 119 residences, along with 110 other structures.

A plane drops fire retardant behind homes along Mc Vicker Canyon Park Road in Lake Elsinore California as the Holy Fire
Maryland firefighters head west to battle wildfires

Several fires are burning throughout California, including one that is the largest fire in the Golden State's history. This scene, captured by a webcam overlooking California's Holy Fire, offers a sober glance of the state's horrific wildfire season, which is far from over.

Luckily for East Coast residents, smoke that has made a 3,000-mile journey from California is now wafting a mile above street level so can't be seen or smelt.

Orange County Fire Authority investigators believe the fire started near Clark's cabin.

Firefighters under Cal Fire's command have helped OR authorities fight a fire near the California border and responded to a blaze that broke out this week in Orange County and burned a dozen cabins. Castro left his home of eight years and joined the line of cars snaking out of Lake Elsinore.

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, who owns a cabin in Holy Jim Canyon, was arrested earlier this week after a standoff with police and charged with arson, making criminal threats and resisting arrest.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors, who said the fire has damaged or destroyed at least 14 homes.

Michael Milligan, chief of the Holy Jim Volunteer Fire Department, told the newspaper that Clark had a decade-long feud with neighbors and sent him threatening emails last week, including one that said, "this place will burn".

Before he was arrested, Clark told a freelance cameraman he was asleep when the fire started and had no idea how it began.

"I've been trying for years to get someone to pay attention and nobody has really had the opportunity to do that until now", he said.

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