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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Tour Will Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

US secretary of state to visit 5 countries in the Middle East, South Asia in bid to strengthen economic and security ties, ease concerns over deal with Tehran More

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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs