[January 22, 2014]LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — Three men
were charged in federal court on Tuesday with setting an illegal
campfire that ignited a blaze which has since grown to nearly 2,000
acres in the foothills near Los Angeles, but is largely under control.
Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 24, and Clifford
Eugene Henry Jr, 22, were arrested on Thursday shortly after the
fire broke out in the Angeles National Forest north of the Los
Angeles suburb of Glendora.
They were escaping the flames when they were taken into custody by
Glendora police. Aguirre and Jarrell are homeless and Henry lives in
Glendora, U.S. prosecutors said in a statement.
The men were charged on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los
Angeles with unlawfully setting timber on fire, and each faces a
maximum penalty if convicted of five years in prison. They face
charges in U.S. court because the Angeles National Forest, where the
blaze broke out, is federal land.
They are due to appear in court on Wednesday for an arraignment. The
three men told police and arson investigators that together they
started a campfire and wind blew burning paper into the brush,
igniting what authorities would later call the Colby Fire,
The place where the three men started the campfire is not designated
for camping, Glendora police have said. The area had at the time
been under a red flag warning, which is an advisory from the
National Weather Service that says dry conditions are ripe for a
wildfire to break out.
The Colby Fire has burned 1,952 acres and is almost entirely
contained, after having destroyed five homes, authorities said on
the Incident Information System, a government website for tracking
wildfires. About 300 firefighters are still deployed against the
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Eric Walsh)