LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA/AP) — Aided by slightly cooler temperatures, firefighters are continuing to make progress as they work to subdue a wildfire that has burned across more than 35 square miles of Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Sunday the Holy Fire is 52 percent contained. It has burned 22,714 acres across Riverside and Orange counties.
Tolmachoff says temperatures that have declined from triple digits to the 80s and 90s are helping firefighters advance on the blaze.
The Holy Fire — named for Holy Jim Canyon, where it began last Monday — has destroyed 16 structures.
Glen Ivy resident Leslie Dow became emotional as she talked about the nearly 1,500 firefighters battling the blaze for a week.
“It’s overwhelming,” Dow told CBS2 News. “If they just knew an inkling of what we feel — I’m sorry. Yes, we would like each one of them, to thank them.”
The Holy Fire is one of nearly 20 blazes burning across California.
The state is seeing earlier, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons because of drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into forests.
New voluntary evacuation orders were issued Sunday for the area near Bixby Canyon north of Coldwater Canyon.
Mandatory evacuation orders remain for the areas of Glen Eden, El Cariso Village, Rancho Capistrano and some homes on the mountainside of Lake Street and southwest of Grand Avenue at Ortega Hwy. Riverside County asked residents leaving the El Cariso neighborhood to evacuate west on Hwy. 74 toward Orange County.
A complete map of the evacuations can be found here.
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