Flames inch close to California homes as thousands evacuate

  • A sheriff’s deputy stands guard at a gate near a hillside as the Holy Fire burns in the Cleveland National Forest at Temescal Valley in Corona, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

  • A firefighter keeps watch as the Holy Fire burns in the Cleveland National Forest along a hillside at Temescal Valley in Corona, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. Firefighters fought a desperate battle to stop the Holy Fire from reaching homes as the blaze surged through the Cleveland National Forest above the city of Lake Elsinore and its surrounding communities. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

  • A firefighter battles the Holy Fire burning in the Cleveland National Forest along a hillside at Temescal Valley in Corona, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. Firefighters fought a desperate battle to stop the Holy Fire from reaching homes as the blaze surged through the Cleveland National Forest above the city of Lake Elsinore and its surrounding communities. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES — An intentionally set wildfire grew perilously close to homes in Southern California on Thursday as evacuation orders expanded to more than 20,000 residents, though some homeowners stayed behind to fend off the flames themselves.

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