Australian and New Zealand fire crews help tackle California wildfire

They are fighting California's biggest fire — in steep forest terrain with rattlesnakes scorpions and poisonous plants

Brown issued the declaration on Thursday for Orange and Riverside counties because of the Holy Fire in the Cleveland National Forest, which is threatening thousands of homes.

The Carr and Mendocino Complex fires that have raged in Northern California - the former having killed at least eight people, and the latter having surpassed 300,000 acres and becoming the largest in state history - are both still burning, neither fully contained.

Some residents sprayed down their homes and were forced to evacuate overnight as the flames closed in, reports CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti.

By around 4 p.m., Lugton said he could hear fire engines passing by about every two minutes.

California is seeing earlier, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons because of drought, warmer weather attributed to climate change and home construction deeper into the forests.

A Cal Fire heavy equipment mechanic who was helping fight the Carr Fire was killed in a auto accident, authorities say.

Clark has been charged with three counts of arson, resisting arrest, and deterring an executive officer.

Cal Fire says the firefighter was assigned to the Butte Unit that is assigned to the Carr Fire burning near Redding. A resident of the small community of Holy Jim Canyon in the national forest has been charged with arson and other crimes and appeared in a jailhouse courtroom Friday.

The fire more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Sacramento has destroyed more than 100 homes and blackened an area about the size of Los Angeles.

Clark refused to go to court Thursday and his arraignment was postponed to Friday.

Information released by the Cleveland National Forest, which is where the fire is burning, indicates that in addition to the weather, steep terrain, and limited access, another reason they are losing ground is they are not able to obtain all the firefighting resources they have requested.

Orange County Fire officials say they believe the Holy Fire began near Cabin 14, which is owned by Clark.

A California man was charged with arson and other offenses on August 9 for allegedly starting the Holy Fire in Orange County, it was reported.

More than 1,000 firefighters, using 10 helicopters and seven additional aircraft, remain on the front lines battling the blaze, ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV reported. He faces sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Schools have been closed in Menifee, Perris and Lake Elsinore.

A large swath of homes, however, was bathed fire retardant, creating the appearance of a bright red river cutting through the threatened neighborhood. A dozen properties have so far been razed by the blaze.

"I was asleep. I had two earplugs in", he told the reporter.

Residents in states like Missouri, Ohio, Mississippi, Virginia and even NY and MA can see the smoke manifest itself through grey skies and vibrant sunsets, the National Weather Service says.

Firefighters had nearly contained a huge fire near Yosemite National Park.

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