Man accused of starting fast-growing California wildfire that forced the evacuation of Idyllwild
A man accused of starting a wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest faces five counts of arson in the blaze, which destroyed homes and prompted the evacuation of the town of Idyllwild and several other communities, authorities said.
Brandon N. McGlover, 32, of Temecula was detained Wednesday and charged with arson to wildland, the Riverside County Fire Department and Cal Fire said.
Authorities believe McGlover set multiple fires Wednesday in Riverside County, including the Cranston Fire.
The suspect could not be reached for comment, and it was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
More than 700 firefighters are battling that blaze, which has scorched 7,500 acres and is only 5% contained, officials with the San Bernardino National Forest said. The fire is about 15 miles southwest of Palm Springs and 35 miles southeast of Riverside.
Several homes and cabins seemed to have gone up in flames, video recorded from helicopters by CNN affiliates appears to show. Other homes looked to be covered with red flame retardant.
Evacuation orders are in place for about 16,000 people in the town of Idyllwild, the community of Mountain Center and the areas of Apple Canyon, Hurkey Creek and Lake Hemet. Evacuation orders are no longer in effect for Fern Valley and Pine Cove.
Massive amounts of smoke were seen rising from the San Jacinto Mountains as an airplane dropped retardant on the fire, a video posted Wednesday night by Twitter user Captain Woody shows.
“From Pine Cove. Packing up,” he wrote.
The area around Idyllwild was the site of a massive wildfire in July 2013 that burned more than 27,000 acres.