Governor declares new state of emergency near Los Angeles while Holy Fire threatens thousands of homes

A firefighter works to protect homes while the flames arrive during the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, on Thursday

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency as a wildfire that forced 21,000 people out of their homes and continues to rage south of Los Angeles.

Brown issued the statement Thursday for Orange and Riverside counties due to the Sacred Fire in the Cleveland National Forest, which is threatening thousands of homes.

The fire near Lake Elsinore is devouring wooded hills, ridges and canyons. It is blackened 16 square miles and only contains 5 percent.

On Thursday, the flames arrived a few meters from some houses. So far, twelve structures destroyed in the fire have been confirmed, and in other parts, the Carr fire has destroyed almost 1,100 homes.

A firefighter works to protect homes while the flames arrive during the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, on Thursday

A firefighter works to protect homes while the flames arrive during the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, on Thursday

A man watches as the fire runs downhill towards his home as the Sacred Fire burns in Lake Elsinore, California on Thursday

A man watches as the fire runs downhill towards his home as the Sacred Fire burns in Lake Elsinore, California on Thursday

A man watches as the fire runs downhill towards his home as the Sacred Fire burns in Lake Elsinore, California on Thursday

A firefighting helicopter drops a drop of water as Sacred Fire burns near homes on Thursday in Lake Elsinore, California

A firefighting helicopter drops a drop of water as Sacred Fire burns near homes on Thursday in Lake Elsinore, California

A firefighting helicopter drops a drop of water as Sacred Fire burns near homes on Thursday in Lake Elsinore, California

This map shows the locations of the major fires that are now burning throughout the state of California, with the Sacred Fire in the south

This map shows the locations of the major fires that are now burning throughout the state of California, with the Sacred Fire in the south

This map shows the locations of the major fires that are now burning throughout the state of California, with the Sacred Fire in the south

A firefighting helicopter drops water to protect homes during the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, on Thursday

A firefighting helicopter drops water to protect homes during the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, on Thursday

A firefighting helicopter drops water to protect homes during the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, on Thursday

The burned area of ​​the Sacred Fire in the Cleveland National Forest on the county line between Orange and Riverside is seen above

The burned area of ​​the Sacred Fire in the Cleveland National Forest on the county line between Orange and Riverside is seen above

The burned area of ​​the Sacred Fire in the Cleveland National Forest on the county line between Orange and Riverside is seen above

Early on Friday, more than 1,200 firefighters fought the fire, building barriers and constructing containment lines to stop the approaching forest fire.

More than 21,000 people have been evacuated in and around Lake Elsinore, where furious flames and smoke rose into the sky outside the city of 60,000 while the Sacred Fire burned near the Santa Ana Mountains.

"It feels like a war zone," Ana Tran told the Los Angeles Times as the ash and flame retardant fell on her neighborhood.

The fire was driven by a dry brush that covered a steep terrain and was fueled by erratic gusts of wind during the night, said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the incident said.

"The strong downward currents are causing the fire to move aggressively downhill," Nguyen said, noting that firefighters were working to build barriers and containment lines to protect more than 2,000 homes at risk from the fire.

Firefighters set a back burner to fight the Sacred Fire as it burns in the Cleveland National Forest along a slope in the Temescal Valley

Firefighters set a back burner to fight the Sacred Fire as it burns in the Cleveland National Forest along a slope in the Temescal Valley

Firefighters set a back burner to fight the Sacred Fire as it burns in the Cleveland National Forest along a slope in the Temescal Valley

A CalFire firefighter (far left wearing yellow) supervises an internal fire crew (dressed in orange) while cleaning the brush and placing access points to protect an elementary school that almost caught fire at the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California Thursday

A CalFire firefighter (far left wearing yellow) supervises an internal fire crew (dressed in orange) while cleaning the brush and placing access points to protect an elementary school that almost caught fire at the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California Thursday

A CalFire firefighter (far left wearing yellow) supervises an internal fire crew (dressed in orange) while cleaning the brush and placing access points to protect an elementary school that almost caught fire at the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California Thursday

A team of firefighters erases weeds and places hot spots to protect an elementary school that almost caught fire at the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, southeast of Los Angeles, on Thursday.

A team of firefighters erases weeds and places hot spots to protect an elementary school that almost caught fire at the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, southeast of Los Angeles, on Thursday.

A team of firefighters erases weeds and places hot spots to protect an elementary school that almost caught fire at the Sacred Fire in Lake Elsinore, California, southeast of Los Angeles, on Thursday.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries from fighting the fire that has consumed more than 10,200 acres since it began on Monday, firefighters said.

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, is accused of intentionally setting the Sacred Fire and is scheduled to read charges on Friday

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, is accused of intentionally setting the Sacred Fire and is scheduled to read charges on Friday

Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, is accused of intentionally establishing the Sacred Fire and is scheduled to read charges on Friday

The premeditated suspect Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, is accused of intentionally establishing the Sacred Fire and is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

Clark is being held pending a bail of $ 1 million. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

The Sacred Fire was one of the many fires in California that have displaced tens of thousands of people.

Wildfires across the state and the region could be stoked by strong gusts, low humidity and warm weather on Friday and Saturday, meteorologists warned.

In northern California, a mechanic who helped fight Carr's fire around Redding died Thursday in a traffic collision, raising the death toll from that fire to eight, the Department of Forestry and Protection said. California fires.

An overview of the damage caused by the Carr fire near Redding, California seen in the photo on Thursday

An overview of the damage caused by the Carr fire near Redding, California seen in the photo on Thursday

An overview of the damage caused by the Carr fire near Redding, California seen in the photo on Thursday

The damages to the Mendocino complex fire are seen on Tuesday in Spring Valley, California. The furious fire at the Mendocino Complex that includes twin fires in northern California has devastated more than 477 square miles

The damages to the Mendocino complex fire are seen on Tuesday in Spring Valley, California. The furious fire at the Mendocino Complex that includes twin fires in northern California has devastated more than 477 square miles

The damages to the Mendocino complex fire are seen on Tuesday in Spring Valley, California. The furious fire at the Mendocino Complex that includes twin fires in northern California has devastated more than 477 square miles

The 279-square-mile Carr Fire had already killed two other firefighters, a public service worker along with three members of a family, and destroyed nearly 1,100 homes.

The fire was 49% contained with firefighters fighting on steep terrain to control the fire, CalFire said.

More than 4,000 firefighters are battling the Mendocino complex fire, which has burned 477 square miles in three counties north of San Francisco, CalFire said.

Two firefighters were injured and 119 houses destroyed by that fire, which is now ranked as the largest fire in the state.

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