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Holy Fire in California: Evacuations in effect as fire in Cleveland National Forest burns

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Posted at 6:35 AM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-07 10:57:49-04

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST, Cali. — Evacuation orders remained in effect Tuesday in light of a fast-moving wildfire that erupted in the Cleveland National Forest the day before.

The blaze dubbed the Holy Fire is zero percent contained and has burned at least 4,000 acres as of Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

According to fire officials, the Holy Fire erupted at around 1:30 p.m. Monday near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads. It initially burned 7-10 acres in the Trabuco Canyon area, but exploded in size to at least 4,000 acres by 8 p.m.

The fire was moving at a moderate rate of speed as of early Monday evening, but flames have destroyed at least one structure and threatened several communication towers at the top of a nearby hill.

At least 600 firefighters from multiple agencies were assigned to battle blaze. Cal Fire air tankers and water-dropping helicopters were requested to conduct aerial fire attack operations after sunset, even though night flying is regarded as inherently dangerous and not all water-fighting helicopters are configured to operate in darkness.

Precautionary evacuation orders were issued for the sparsely populated Holy Jim community and Trabuco Canyon area, home to dozens of weekend cabins. All campgrounds in the Trabuco Ranger District were closed and forest road closures were in effect for Trabuco Creek, Maple Springs, North Main Divide, Bedford and Indian Truck Trail. Also, Blue Jay Campground and El Cariso Campground off Highway 74 were evacuated.

Two people hiking near a canyon when the fire erupted had to be rescued and are now safe, according to fire officials. Officials also said two people were treated due to heat-related injuries.

The Holy Jim trail, near where the fire is burning, is a 2.8-mile trail that connects several other mountain trails together. Summertime temperatures in the area regularly climb into the triple digits.

Fire officials said they believe the area has not burned since 1980.