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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs