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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora