Arson suspect arrested as brush fire spreads to 4,700 acres in Southern California

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A brush fire erupted in the San Bernardino National Forest Wednesday, prompting evacuations in Idyllwild, where 600 homes were threatened. (KFSN)

Firefighters in the Idyllwild area on Thursday morning continued to battle a 4,700-acre brush fire that erupted the previous day and spread quickly, destroying five homes and prompting the evacuation of 3,200 people.

The Cranston Fire began about noon Wednesday as the apparent result of arson, according to authorities. A Temecula man, 32-year-old Brandon N. McGlover, was later arrested and booked on five counts for allegedly igniting several blazes in Riverside County. His bail was set at $1,000,000.

No injuries have been reported.

Cal Fire Capt. Scott Visyak said fire crews will focus Thursday on the Apple Canyon area as well as Lake Hemet based on the predicted weather, the fuel loads and the terrain.

"It's going to be hot, it's going to be dry and the winds are going to pick up and there's still a lot of fire burning out there so we've got a big concern just on firefighter safety alone," Visyak said.

More than 2,100 homes were evacuated in Idyllwild, Apple Canyon, Lake Hemet, Mountain Center, Hurkey Creek, along with the Camp Scherman Girls Scouts camp.

But some homeowners were determined to stay and take a stand against the flames.

"Once that wind hit, man, it was just incredible," said Idyllwild resident Mario Deniz. "Everybody took off and we were the last ones here but, you know, it's our homes. What can we do?"

Some 700 firefighters were at the scene east of Hemet on Thursday, where the brushfire was 5 percent contained as flames burned along Highway 74. The emergency personnel represented Cal Fire, the Riverside County Fire Department and the San Bernardino National Forest agency.

They were assisted by fire-retardant drops from aircraft and a decrease in wind conditions in the area, but temperatures were expected to reach 91 degrees by midafternoon amid 57 percent humidity.
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brush firewildfirefireevacuationLos Angeles Area
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