A wildfire burns in the hills just north of the San Gabriel Valley community of Glendora, Calif. on Thursday, Jan 16. Southern California authorities have ordered the evacuation of homes at the edge of a fast-moving wildfire burning in the dangerously dry foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
A fast-moving wildfire in the hills above Glendora burned at least 1,700 acres of withered brush and five homes Thursday, and sent a smoky pall over much of the Los Angeles Basin — the likely harbinger of a rare winter fire season sparked by the driest conditions on record.
Weather officials had been warning about the fire danger for months, capped by a January that had the windy, nosebleed feel of October.
The native chaparral that burns so easily in normal circumstances was parched and ready to combust.
The fire sent smoke and ash south and west toward the Pacific Ocean. People as far away as Huntington Beach and Santa Monica smelled the wood smoke and saw their shadows cast in an eerie red light.
Three people have been arrested for setting a brush fire that scorched over 1,700 acres in the foothills above Glendora Thursday.
Glendora police took three men into custody and booked them for recklessly starting the blaze, dubbed the Colby Fire. They have been identified as Clifford Eugene Henry, Jr., 22, of Glendora; Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale; and Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, homeless of the Los Angeles area.
The men claimed they were sitting around a camp fire when a breeze kicked up, starting a fire.
“They were tossing papers into the campfire and a breeze — reportedly — a breeze had kicked up and set this fire,” said Glendora police Chief Tim Staab during a press conference. He added that they were “apologetic.”
The three men initially denied their involvement.