Officials say juvenile started California wildfire

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

40 PHOTOS
San Diego wildfires
See Gallery
Officials say juvenile started California wildfire
SAN CLEMENTE, CA - MAY 16: People on Trestles beach watch Erickson air crane firefighting helicopters suck water from a lagoon to fight the Talega Fire on nearby Camp Pendleton as a surfer arrives to Tressles beach on May 16, 2014 near San Clemente, California. The Talega Fire, which began this morning, is one of three large wildfires on Camp Pendleton that have scorched more than 22,000 acres. Firefighters have been battling 11 wildfires in San Diego County this week, including the fires on the Marine base. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Smoke plumes rise behind the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton entrance Friday, May 16, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Marines move military vehicles near the entrance to Marine Corps Camp Pendleton in front of smoke plumes from the Las Pulgas wildfire burning on base Friday, May 16, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Cars leave the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton base during a partial evacuation due to wildfires Friday, May 16, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
People look over a canyon ravaged by wildfire Friday, May 16, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Some evacuation orders were lifted early Friday in an area near the fiercest of several wildfires in San Diego County, as crews building containment lines around the blazes hoped cooler temperatures will help them make further progress. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Chase and Brittany Boslet take pictures of smoke from the Las Pulgas fire burning on the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton base Friday, May 16, 2014, from a highway rest area near Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Houses sit untouched above a canyon ravaged by wildfire Friday, May 16, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. Some evacuation orders were lifted early Friday in an area near the fiercest of several wildfires in San Diego County, as crews building containment lines around the blazes hoped cooler temperatures will help them make further progress. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Marines move military vehicles near the entrance to Marine Corps Camp Pendleton in front of smoke plumes from the Las Pulgas wildfire burning on base Friday, May 16, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A house burns near an eagle sculpture at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A house burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: Flames spread at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A firefighter pulls a hose in position while battling the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: Smoke rises as the southeast flank of the Cocos fire bears down on houses near Del Dios Highway on May 15, 2014 near San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A house burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: Ranch equipment burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A firefighter pulls a hose into position to battle the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A ranch smolders at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Fire engulfs a structure during a wildfire Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A fire climbs a hillside toward homes Thursday, May 15, 2014, in San Marcos, Calif. The San Diego County sheriff says nearly 13,000 new evacuation notices have been issued due to a wildfire. Sheriff Bill Gore said the notifications are due to a Thursday afternoon flare-up and erratic winds around the Southern California city of San Marcos. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
A helicopter drops retardants while battling the Cocos fire Thursday, May 15, 2014, in San Marcos, Calif. The San Diego County sheriff says nearly 13,000 new evacuation notices have been issued due to a wildfire. Sheriff Bill Gore said the notifications are due to a Thursday afternoon flare-up and erratic winds around the Southern California city of San Marcos. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
A mountain top home burns in the Cocos fire Thursday, May 15, 2014, in San Marcos, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders. (AP Photo)
The skeleton shell of a home is engulfed in flames Thursday, May 15, 2014, in San Marcos, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders. (AP Photo)
A brush fire roars up a hillside filling the air with smoke and embers Thursday, May 15, 2014, in San Marcos, Calif. Gusty winds failed to return Thursday morning in San Diego County wildfire areas and authorities said it was a window of opportunity to make further gains against flames that burned homes and drove tens of thousands from their homes. (AP Photo)
Firefighters take a break on a hillside after hours of work Thursday, May 15, 2014, in San Marcos, Calif. Gusty winds failed to return Thursday morning in San Diego County wildfire areas and authorities said it was a window of opportunity to make further gains against flames that burned homes and drove tens of thousands from their homes. (AP Photo)
A structure burns during a wildfire Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A firefighter moves past a burning structure during a wildfire Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A Riverside firefighter covers the face of another firefighter as they work a wildfire Thursday, May 15, 2014, in Escondido, Calif. One of the nine fires burning in San Diego County suddenly flared Thursday afternoon and burned close to homes, trigging thousands of new evacuation orders.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A lone tree stands in the path of approaching flames as wild fire burns through a canyon Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
Flames grow as a wild fire burns out-of-control in the north county area of San Diego Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
Firefighters watch from a ridge as a helicopter drops retardant on a out-of- control wild fire Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo)
SAN CLEMENTE, CA - MAY 16: A surfer at Trestles beach looks back at an Erickson air crane firefighting helicopter sucking water from a lagoon to fight the Talega Fire on nearby Camp Pendleton on May 16, 2014 near San Clemente, California. The Talega Fire, which began this morning, is one of three large wildfires on Camp Pendleton that have scorched more than 22,000 acres. Firefighters have been battling 11 wildfires in San Diego County this week, including the fires on the Marine base. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN CLEMENTE, CA - MAY 16: A CH 53 Super Stallion Marine helicopter carries a bucket of water scooped from the ocean to fight the Talega Fire on nearby Camp Pendleton on May 16, 2014 near San Clemente, California. The Talega Fire, which began this morning, is one of three large wildfires on Camp Pendleton that have scorched more than 22,000 acres. Firefighters have been battling 11 wildfires in San Diego County this week, including the fires on the Marine base. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A house burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: The grill of a pickup truck is left melted by the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A firefighter hoses flames at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: Ranch equipment burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A house burns at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A helicopter attacks a wild fire burning Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of several others Tuesday in California as a high-pressure system brought unseasonable heat and gusty winds to a parched state that should be in the middle of its rainy season. (AP Photo)
A helicopter flies over burning vegetation as it nears homes Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Carlsbad, Calif. More wildfires broke out Wednesday in San Diego County — threatening homes in Carlsbad and forcing the evacuations of military housing and an elementary school at Camp Pendleton — as Southern California is in the grip of a heat wave. (AP Photo)
A helicopter drops water on the grounds surrounding one of the luxury homes of the Fairbanks Ranch area where a wild fire threaten homes Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California’s drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north. (AP Photo)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Investigators who spent weeks examining photos and tips from the public have identified a juvenile as a suspect for intentionally starting the most destructive of nearly a dozen wildfires that ripped through Southern California this spring, officials said Tuesday.

The San Diego County District Attorney's office said a hearing has been set for July 30 for the juvenile, whose identity has not been released. Authorities would not say whether an arrest has been made nor provide any details other than to say the person is believed to be responsible for setting the Cocos fire, which quickly spread amid windy, dry conditions.

The blaze burned 36 houses and one business in San Marcos, a city of 85,000 north of San Diego. Investigators say the suspect is not believed to be linked to the other wildfires burning at that time.

The wildfires that erupted over a span of days in San Diego County prompted tens of thousands of evacuations and caused more than $20 million in damages.

The first blaze started May 13 and was caused by a spark from construction equipment, according to state officials.

Authorities arrested two youths in Escondido on suspicion of setting fires in that city, which is near San Marcos, but charges were later dropped for lack of evidence. Another man, Alberto Serrato, 57, was arrested and pleaded not guilty to an arson charge in connection with one of the smaller fires, but authorities say they don't believe he started it, just added brush to it.

Read Full Story

People are Reading