Arson Suspect Arrested as Deadly California Wildfires Rage on and Force Evacuations
Police have arrested a man suspected of starting the Cranston fire, one of the deadly wildfires spreading across California this week, burning homes to the ground and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate.
Brandon N. McGlover, a 32-year-old man from Temecula, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with five counts of arson to wildland, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said in a press release.
His bail was set at $1 million, the Desert Sun reported. He remained in jail on Friday, when he was expected to appear in court.
Cal Fire reps did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The Cranston fire started on Wednesday at about noon, United States Forest Service spokeswoman Lyn Sieliet told The New York Times. Cal Fire’s press release alleged McGlover started a series of smaller fires to kick it off.
It spread quickly, despite the efforts of firefighters. As of Friday afternoon, it had burned 11,500 acres outside Los Angeles and was only 3 percent contained, Cal Fire reported.
“It’s hot, it’s dry and the terrain is really steep,” Sieliet told The Times. “The humidity is low and there’s a light wind, so all of those conditions contribute.”
Sadly, the Cranston Fire is just one of the many wildfires burning in California.
There are at least six others, Cal Fire reported, including the Valley fire (1,348 acres, 29 percent contained), Ferguson fire, (45,911 acres, 29 percent contained), Lions fire (4,267 acres, 92 percent contained), Georges fire (2,883 acres, 70 percent contained), Horse Creek fire (34 acres, 90 percent contained) and the Carr fire, which is at least 44,000 acres and is only 3 percent contained.
The Carr blaze has led to the death of two people helping stop the fire, neither of whose names have been released, NBC News reported. One was a Redding firefighter and the other was a bulldozer driver.
Flames from the Carr fire have jumped over the Sacramento River, and torn towards Redding — a city of about 95,000 that falls just 160 miles north of Sacramento, NBC News reported.
“This fire is making a significant push into the northwest portion of Redding,” Cal Fire incident commander Chief Brett Gouvea told the press on Friday, CNN reported. “This fire is extremely dangerous and is moving with no regard to what’s (in) its path”
Among the thousands of people fleeing for their lives were anchors at KRCR-TV in Redding, who evacuated live on air Thursday night, just after 10:30 p.m.
“Right now, we are being evacuated,” co-anchor Allison Woods explained during Thursday night’s broadcast, in video shared on Twitter. “That’s why we are closing out right now. We are going to leave the station because it is now unsafe to be here.”
“Please evacuate everyone and stay safe,” added co-anchor Tamara Damante. “Have a good night.”
The National Interagency Fire Center reports there are 88 large wildfires burning across the U.S., including 11 in Alaska and 15 in Oregon.