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Holy Fire South of Los Angeles Explodes

Authorities are urging evacuation for people in the path of an arson-caused wildfire that's exploding along ridges, foothills and canyons south of Los Angeles.

The call for voluntary evacuations was issued Thursday for people near a mountainside above Lake Elsinore, joining at least 20,000 people who are under mandatory evacuation orders as fire churns through Cleveland National Forest.

The fire is burning through dense, heavy chaparral and came within yards of some homes in the foothills. Early on, the blaze that erupted Monday burned a dozen cabins.

Winds gusting to nearly 20 mph are helping drive the flames through tinder-dry brush. Temperatures have topped 100 degrees and the humidity is in single digits.

Meanwhile, a man charged with starting the fire refused to go to court Thursday. Forrest Clark could face life in prison if convicted.