A California man who has been in a decade-long feud with his neighbors was arrested on suspicion of starting a wildfire that destroyed their homes.
Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, was arrested and taken to the Orange County Intake Release Center on suspicion of two counts of arson, one count of felony threat to terrorize and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
Authorities arrived at Clark’s cabin in the Holy Jim Canyon area of the Cleveland National Forest on Tuesday to question him about the blaze.
As they attempted to arrest Clark he stripped down to his camouflaged underwear.
Forrest Gordon Clark was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of starting a wildfire in California
Clark stripped down to his underwear on Tuesday as authorities in Holy Jim tried to arrest him
At one point, Clark removed his underwear and appeared to stand naked with his hands on his hips
At one point Clark appeared to ditch his underwear as officers tried to take him into custody.
Authorities said Clark started a fire in the Holy Jim Canyon area of the Cleveland National Forest on Monday.
The blaze has burned more than 4,000 acres, including his neighbors’ cabins. His residence was the only one in the area spared from the fire.
Clark was arrested on suspicion of two counts of arson, one count of felony threat to terrorize and one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest
It’s not clear how Clark allegedly started the devastating wildfire.
Volunteer fire chief Mike Milligan told the Orange Country Register that Clark was running through the community last week screaming and sent him a threatening email saying, ‘this place will burn’.
Milligan said Clark has been feuding with his neighbor and other cabin owners for the past decade.
‘He has issues,’ Milligan said. ‘I hope they get him.’
Fire officials said Wednesday morning that the blaze was only five per cent contained and two firefighters suffered heat-related injuries.
More than 600 firefighters have been dispatched to the roaring blaze.
The fire was first reported around 1.15pm on Monday near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads.
Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito said the blaze has since spread to the Horse thief Canyon area and the Lake Elsinore area.
Authorities said ground crews are building bulldozer lines to try and contain the fire and 10 helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircrafts have been dispatched to the area, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Authorities said the fire destroyed all the cabins – except Clark’s – in the Holy Jim Canyon area
Trabuco and Holy Jim canyons were under mandatory evacuation order, as well the Blue Jay and El Cariso campgrounds, officials said. Campgrounds in the Trabuco Ranger District were also closed, as well as road closures for Trabuco Creek, Maple Springs, North Main Divide, Bedford and Indian Truck Trail.
The Lake Elsinore area has not been placed under evacuation warning.
If convicted of the charges, Clark could face life in prison. He’s currently being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is set to be arraigned Thursday.