LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA)  — The Holy Fire has been burning out-of-control since Monday but as the blaze gets closer and closer to some homes, residents can’t help but feel palpitations.

The fire exploded Thursday afternoon with flames literally burning at the back doors of homes in McVicker Park Canyon.

KCAL9’s Nicole Comstock said there was a steady stream of aircraft overhead dropping flame retardant

A line of fire retardant in fact came just in the nick of time to save one neighborhood on a cul-de-sac.

Firefighters started dropping fire retardant in the area yesterday knowing the area was surrounded by brush on both sides.

“My heart was pounding and I was screaming for joy that they were here doing that for us here,” said homeowner Stephen Gallina.

Despite how bad things got in the area, watching the fight from the ground and air gave many faith that the firefighters could knock down the flames.

RELATED LINK: Homes Threatened By Holy Fire; Thousands Forced To Evacuate

While it was hot Thursday, firefighters were aided with relatively calm air. For a while, anyway.

“There’s been no wind, so it’s kinda been  a slow burn,” says Lake Elsinore resident Mickey Tedder.

It has been a slow burn but flames started moving through the steep terrain.

“All of a sudden like I said the wind changed,” says Tedder.

And when it changed around 2 p.m., it got bad — quick.

Meanwhile, the suspect accused of arson, Forrest Gordon Clark refused to leave his jail cell at the OC Men’s Central Jail Thursday.

Officials suspect he will be arraigned Friday.

Holy Jim volunteer fire chief Mike Milligan — who has known Clark for two decades — says he is not surprised that Clark is accused.

“For us, it’s just disappointing. He is just a scourge on this canyon,” Milligan said, “Every single person in this canyon is afraid of him, that’s number one. And avoids him number two. And knew he was going to do something crazy.”

Milligan says he wrote an email to authorities just weeks ago warning them about Clark.

“I ended the email with ‘if you don’t so something, he’s going to kill somebody or burn something down’,” Milligan said.

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, the Holy Fire had burned more than 10,000 acres with five percent containment. More than 20,000 people were evacuated.

 

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