Arson is suspected in the Cranston Fire, which is 5 percent contained after burning 7,500 acres in the San Jacinto Mountains by Thursday evening due to high temperatures and low humidity.
ABC reported that firefighters from the U.S.Forest Service San Bernardino National Forest, Riverside County Fire Department of Cal Fire, and several local public safety agencies had responded to a series of wildland fires on Wednesday afternoon.
Governor Jerry Brown has authorized a state of emergency directing California’s Office of Emergency Services to provide government assistance to Riverside County and suspended a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for those made unemployed due to the Cranston Fire, according to the local ABC News affiliate.
Wildfire Today reported that more than 3,200 people have been evacuated from 2,100 homes in Idyllwild, Apple Canyon, Lake Hemet, Mountain Center, Hurkey Creek, Fern Valley, Cedar Glen, and Girl Scout Camp Scherman since the fast-moving wildfire broke out at about noon on Wednesday. Riverside Sheriffs also closed portions of Highways 74 and 243.
Cal Fire investigators developed a description of an arson suspect, and issued a crime bulletin to local law enforcement agencies for a man starting fires in southwest Riverside County. Officers from the Hemet / San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force arrested Brandon N. McGlover, 32 years old, for allegedly igniting several fires, including the Cranston Fire.
The Temecula resident was booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on five counts of Penal Code 451(c) for arson. But authorities stated that further charges could be added if their investigation finds other crimes occurred. There have been no reported injuries, but with eight structures destroyed, McGlover’s bail was set at $1,000,000. His first court appearance is set for 8 a.m. on Friday.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued an unhealthful air smoke advisory through at least Friday morning for Riverside County — including Perris Valley, Anza, Hemet, San Jacinto Valley, Banning Pass, and Coachella Valley.
Those most vulnerable to wildfire smoke include older adults, young children, pregnant women, and people with heart diseases or lung issues, including asthma.