Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Cops Search for California Wildfire Arsonist

Authorities on Tuesday were looking for a man who may have set at least one of five small fires near this mountain resort community in Southern California.

The fires were quickly doused Monday after burning less than an acre each, said Sgt. Rick Whitehead of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department (search). Most of the fires appeared to only burn grass and did not get into trees.

The fires came as the region had record high temperatures. Firefighters kept a close eye on dry brush, power officials monitored electricity use, and residents sought refuge at beaches and in swimming pools.

All the Lake Arrowhead (search) fires were under investigation. At least one was deemed suspicious and a second may have been caused by a faulty power line, U.S. Forest Service (search) fire information officer Maria Daniels said.

A witness reported seeing a man wearing goggles and carrying a duffel bag near the fires, which were about a quarter-mile apart from one another, Whitehead said.

"The fact that this guy was coming out of the forest alone raises suspicion," Whitehead said.

In Riverside County, a 2,083-acre wildfire that once threatened as many as 400 homes was fully contained.

That blaze broke out Sunday in a motor home, spread to vegetation and destroyed two mobile homes and nine vehicles. The cause of the motor home fire was under investigation.

Temperatures of 100 and higher were reported Monday in coastal cities as well as through inland valleys and into the desert. Long Beach topped out only four degrees under Death Valley's 105.

The National Weather Service reported a high of 99 in downtown Los Angeles, eclipsing the record of 91 set in 1972. Other records included 100 in Santa Maria on the Central Coast, 91 in San Francisco, which usually averages 65 this time of year, and 93 in San Jose.

Forecasters said temperatures in the 80s and 90s would continue through Tuesday and cooler weather would return by the end of the week.