News / USA

    California Blazes Under Control, Suspect Held

    • Chase and Brittany Boslet take pictures of smoke from the Las Pulgas fire burning on the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near Oceanside, California, May 16, 2014.
    • Smoke plumes rise behind the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton entrance in Oceanside, California, May 16, 2014.
    • Marines move military vehicles near the entrance to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in front of smoke plumes from the Las Pulgas wildfire burning on base, May 16, 2014.
    • Midi Teng carries the family dog, Pup, out of the car as he arrives home from wildfire evacuations in Carlsbad, California, May 16, 2014.
    • Firefighter Philip Pinal, of Cal-Fire Lions Valley, searches for burning embers in a devastated home after a wildfire in Carlsbad, California, May 16, 2014.
    • A woman douses water from a hose around her home as her neighbor's home burns during a wildfire in Escondido, California, May 15, 2014.
    • A helicopter transporting water flies over trees during a wildfire in Escondido, California, May 15, 2014.
    • Travis Lowell takes a picture as smoke from wildfires rises in Carlsbad, California, May 14, 2014.
    VOA News
    A man has been charged with setting one of nearly a dozen wildfires that have destroyed or damaged dozens of homes and burned nearly 11,000 hectares of brush land near San Diego, California.   

    A 57-year-old man, Alberto Serrato, pleaded not guilty Friday to an arson charge in connection with a 42.5-hectare blaze in suburban Oceanside that is now fully contained after starting Wednesday. Tanya Sierra, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County district attorney's office, tells the Associated Press witnesses saw Serrato adding dead brush onto smoldering bushes, which flared.  Sierra said Serrato has not been connected to any other fire.

    Serrato faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

    Two teenagers also were arrested Thursday after police said the suspects started at least two brush fires in San Diego's Escondido area.

    The blazes marked an intense, early start to California's wildfire season, but authorities say most of the fires appeared to be dying down.

    Cooler weather heading into the area is expected to help firefighting efforts.

    Thousands of suburban San Diego residents forced to flee the wildfires threatening their communities have gradually been allowed to return home as firefighters gain ground against the blazes burning in and around California's second-largest city.

    Meanwhile, authorities are investigating the causes of the blazes that destroyed at least eight homes and an 18-unit condominium complex, emptied neighborhoods and spread flames, smoke and ash that polluted the air as far north as Los Angeles County.

    As of Thursday, for the first time this century, all of California is in a severe drought — or worse. The three worst levels of drought are severe, extreme and exceptional and the entire state is now in one of those three categories.

    Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: highsierra58 from: tahoe
    May 17, 2014 7:07 PM
    From what I understand they only saw this guy adding brush to the fire, not starting the fire.

    He could claim that he was contributing to the fuel reduction effort and at the most be charged with burning trash without a permit.


    by: Richard Flint from: Golden, CO
    May 17, 2014 6:48 PM
    Why is an arson fire referred to as a 'wildfire'?

    by: David from: San Diego
    May 17, 2014 5:34 PM
    Jonathon .I think what you are referring to is called JUSTICE. We kinda dig that here in the States.

    by: Neil Wright from: Seattle
    May 17, 2014 5:18 PM
    Johanthon Harker...what an ignorant comment. Did you not even read the article? Arson is certainly blameworthy.

    by: Donna Ahern from: Boise,Idaho
    May 17, 2014 5:17 PM
    California is going to see a lot more fires. All over the West will . There's droughts in every state. With all the charred land there will be more flooding .

    by: American patriot from: The colony
    May 17, 2014 5:11 PM
    At least there is sunlight in SOCAL you ignorant limey

    by: Johanthon Harker from: UK
    May 17, 2014 4:07 PM
    Every time fires start in California it becomes a blame game of the authorities trying to pin it on someone. The fact is the place is a tinder box full of dry brush and any number of causes could be to blame.
    In Response

    by: Jim C. from: CA USA
    May 17, 2014 5:24 PM
    People are eager to blame specific fires on individual humans but resist blaming larger root causes of fires (e.g. global warming) on humanity in general. There's also a "people like US can't be causing any problems" mentality. Everything is someone else's fault.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora