The case against suspected arsonist Forrest Gordon Clark will be
handed over to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office
Wednesday afternoon, according to Susan Schroeder, the Orange
County District Attorney’s Office chief of staff.
Clark, who has been tied to the Holy fire burning in Orange and
Riverside counties, faces charges that include two counts of
arson, criminal threats and a misdemeanor charge of resisting
arrest. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning.
The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon at a news
conference at the Orange County Fire Authority headquarters in
“Arson is a terrible crime that destroys dreams,” Schroeder said.
The starting of the Holy fire was an intentional act, but they
are still trying to determine exactly how it began, said Shane
Sherwood, battalion chief with the OCFA. He said the “strongest
evidence is witness statements.”
Other evidence included items found at his cabin, Sherwood said.
No witnesses saw Clark start fire, according to Sherwood, but
the area where the fire started is believed to be near his
cabin. Twelve structures were destroyed in the blaze, so far.
Clark’s cabin has been untouched by the flames.
Clark is not believed to be tied to any other fires in the area,
By Wednesday afternoon, the Holy fire scorched more than 6,200
acres. It started just after 1 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6.
Wednesday, the U.S. Forest Service announced mandatory
evacuations for the following canyon areas: McVickers, Rice,
Horsethief, Glen Eden, El Cariso Village, Sycamore Creek and
“We know this area burns, but it should never burn due to an
intentional act,” Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer said.
Spitzer, who represents the area impacted by the fire, said his
constituents are scared, fleeing their homes and leaving
property behind. The supervisor said he wanted the blaze to be
re-named the “Holy Hell” fire.
“This is a monster,” Spitzer said. “Who would go out with low
humidity and high winds and the highest heat temperature this
time of year and intentionally set the forest on fire?”