The Cranston fire in July 2018 destroyed more than 13,000 acres and forced evacuations of at least 7,000 people

By Karen Mizoguchi
February 14, 2019 05:40 PM
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CAL Fire

A man has pleaded guilty to starting the Cranston fire, one of the deadly wildfires that spread across California in July 2018, burning homes to the ground and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate.

On Thursday, Brandon McGlover, 33, of Temecula was sentenced to 12 years and four months in state prison after he entered guilty pleas to two counts of burning of a structure or forest land, the Riverside County district attorney’s office said in a statement. He is ordered to pay restitution to the victims.

McGlover, whose motive remains unknown, also admitted to burning multiple structures involving the Cranston fire, according to prosecutors.

McGlover’s attorney, Joseph Camarata, spoke on his client’s behalf. “He would like to offer his deepest sympathies to everyone who has been affected by these fires,” he told the court, according to the Press-Enterprise.

JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty

Camarata also requested the judge to allow his client to hug his parents before he was taken to prison in chains. However, the judge denied the request, citing security concerns, the Press-Enterprise reports.

Camarata did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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In July 2018, McGlover was arrested and charged with five counts of arson to wildland and starting nine separate fires, the largest being the Cranston fire, which destroyed more than 13,000 acres.

The wildfire forced evacuations of at least 7,000 people, including residents and campers at Mt. San Jacinto State Park, according to the Los Angeles Times.

JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty

At the time, the Cranston fire was just one of many wildfires devastating the state.

There were at least six others, including the Valley fire, Ferguson fire, Lions fire, Georges fire, Horse Creek fire and the Carr fire.

Months later, the Camp fire ravaged Northern California and the Woolsey fire burned down the Southern California homes of several stars such as Miley Cyrus, Gerard Butler, Neil Young, and Robin Thicke.