Holy Fire suspect charged with felony arson, criminal threats

A booking photo of Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, who was arrested in connection to the Holy Fire on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018.

A 51-year-old man was charged Thursday with felony arson and making criminal threats - among other counts - in connection with the Holy Fire.

The Orange County District Attorney charged Forrest Gordon Clark with aggravated arson, arson of inhabited property, arson of forest, criminal threats, resisting and deterring an executive officer and arson burning multiple structures.

Clark's arraignment was delayed because he refused to come to court Thursday morning, officials said.
The fire Clark is accused of starting in Trabuco Canyon has charred more than 9,600 acres. It was just 5 percent contained as of Thursday.

Communities across Riverside and Orange counties have been forced to evacuate.

The fire has also prompted a smoke advisory across both counties.

RELATED: Suspect arrested in connection with massive Holy Fire

Shane Sherwood with the Orange County Fire Authority said the evidence gathered led them to believe the fire was an intentional act, but are still working through the evidence to determine how it was started.

Sherwood said no witnesses have come forward saying they saw Clark start the fire, but the area of origin is around his residence.
Clark has reportedly had conflicts with his neighbors for years and sent an email warning, "This place will burn" to a volunteer fire chief last week.

The OCFA would not comment on those claims, citing the pending investigation.

Of the 14 cabins in the area of the fire, Clark's is apparently the only one still standing.
MORE: Holy Fire arson suspect gives interview at Trabuco Canyon home prior to arrest

Eric Lint, a neighbor of Clark whose cabin burned in the blaze, said he was not surprised by Clark's arrest. "He was a constant problem," Lint said. "We regarded him and the other gentleman as the Hatfields and McCoys."

Kyle Lint, another neighbor, said Clark had been making threats and acting strangely in the days leading up to the fire. "It wasn't like it was out of the blue," he said. "It's just sad that you live out there in, I call it a paradise, and it's like hell now."

If convicted, Clark could face life in prison.
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