Man charged with arson in California wildfire, Report
Man charged with arson in California wildfire, Report

Man charged with arson in California wildfire, Report

A man has been arrested in San Diego County after officials say he tried to add fuel to a 100-acre fire in an Oceanside riverbed.

Alberto Serrato has been charged with an arson for allegedly adding brush to the fire in the San Luis Rey Riverbed, according to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

If convicted, he could face 7 years in prison. No date and time have been set for his arraignment, Dumanis said.

Ten fires charred more than 15 square miles and caused more than $20 million in damage by Friday, burning at least eight houses, an 18-unit apartment complex and two businesses. The hardest-hit areas were in San Marcos and Carlsbad, a suburb that lifted evacuation orders late Thursday.

An 11th fire was reported in the Talega area of Camp Pendleton at 11:24 a.m. on Friday. It burned about 800 acres and was 25 percent contained by the evening. Personnel in the area were ordered to evacuate, and non-essential personnel were sent home at noon, according to Camp Pendleton officials.

Thousands of residents in the Del Dios Corridor and Mt. Israel area of San Marcos were allowed back in their homes early Friday morning after a wildfire destroyed several homes in the area Wednesday. The evacuation notice remained in effect for some parts of San Marcos.

An evacuation shelter was set up at Mission Hills High School. San Marcos Middle School and Escondido High School also reopened as temporary evacuation sites. Small animals are welcome at Mission Hills and Escondido High Schools. Large animals can be taken to Cloverdale Ranch at 2460 Cloverdale Road in Escondido.

The “Cocos Fire” in San Marcos grew to 2,520 acres and was 50 percent contained as of 7:45 p.m. Friday. It was one of 10 brush fires to break out in the county since Tuesday during red-flag conditions that included strong Santa Ana winds, triple-digit temperatures and dry ground cover. The fire continued to burn actively with strong winds Friday.

Investigators said eight of the 10 fires are suspicious in nature because they erupted about an hour apart from each other.


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