May 23, 2014 8:56 a.m. PDT
A third man has been convicted of causing a wildfire that destroyed five homes in the foothills east of Los Angeles.
The U.S. attorney's office says 24-year-old Jonathan Jarrell was found guilty Thursday of unlawfully setting timber on fire and illegally starting a fire. He's facing up to 5 1/2years in federal prison.
Authorities say burning paper from an illegal campfire sparked the Colby Fire on Jan. 16 in the Angeles National Forest.
Santa Ana winds blew the fire into the foothill suburb of Glendora, where it destroyed five homes and damaged 17 homes and buildings.
May 19, 2014 10:43 a.m. PDT
Two men have been convicted of causing a destructive wildfire in the Los Angeles foothill suburb of Glendora in January.
City News Service says a federal court jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts against Clifford Henry Jr. of Glendora and Steven Aguirre, who has been described as homeless.
Authorities say an illegal campfire sparked the Colby Fire on Jan. 16 in Angeles National Forest on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains above Glendora. With Santa Ana winds blowing, the fire moved into the city and destroyed five homes and damaged 17 other homes and buildings.
Henry and Aguirre were convicted of one felony and three misdemeanor counts of lighting and failing to control an illegal campfire.
A third defendant, Jonathan Jarrell, faces trial later.
January 16, 2014 9:22 p.m. PST
Glendora Police Chief Staab told KPCC that his detectives confirmed that Jonathan Jarrell —one of three men being held on suspicion of starting the Colby Fire Thursday morning — posted on his Facebook page earlier that he and two friends were going mountain lion hunting.
Staab said the post appeared to be a joke, but he added that he appreciated that the three suspects were "placing themselves at the scene" of the fire's origin via Facebook.
Jarrell's post names two men — Cliffy Henry and Steven Winning — whose pictures on their own Facebook pages match those of the two other suspects, Clifford Eugene Henry and Steven Robert Aguirre.
The Facebook page of Jonathan Jarrell says he is affiliated with Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, although staff there declined to confirm that. Henry and Aguirre's Facebook pages said they were part of the L.A. Job Corps program. A records administrator confirmed that Henry had been part of the program and left last August, but could not find a record for Aguirre.
Henry and Aguirre's Facebook pages said they were part of the L.A. Job Corps program. A records administrator confirmed that Henry had been part of the program and left last August, but could not find a record for Aguirre.
Bail is now set at $500,000 for the three men suspected of starting the Colby Fire, the Glendora Police Department confirmed.
January 16, 2014 8:04 p.m. PST
Though Glendora evacuations were lifted at 6 p.m., Azusa evacuations are still in effect, according to Azusa Police Department.
The evacuation center at Memorial Park is relocating to Glendora High School at 9 p.m. If you need shelter and food, go to 1600 E. Foothill Blvd., Azusa PD advised.
January 16, 2014 5:12 p.m. PST
Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab said three suspects remained in custody and added that a deputy district attorney was at the Glendora police department and was speaking on the phone with the U.S Attorney's office to determine whether to file state or federal charges against the suspects.
Staab added that the suspects would make their first appearance in court either Friday or Monday.
"One was very remorseful for starting this fire," he said.
January 16, 2014 3:47 p.m. PST
The Red Flag Warning for the area has been extended again until 6 p.m. Friday night
for strong gusty winds and low humidity.
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to assist the state of California combat the Colby Fire currently burning in Los Angeles County,” FEMA said in a statement.
The authorization makes FEMA funding available to reimburse up to 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire.
The State of California submitted a request for a fire management assistance declaration for the Colby Fire, which was threatening 500 homes in the areas of Glendora and San Dimas with a combined population of 100,000 at the time of request, according to FEMA. Also at risk is the Little Canyon Reservoir, potable water supplies, secondary power lines, and wilderness preserves.
January 16, 2014 1:44 p.m. PST
Thursday afternoon winds could affect firefighters battling the Glendora blaze.
"Our weather projections are that at about 3 o’clock this afternoon, we are going to get more winds,” LA County Fire Chief Osby told KPCC.
"Right now our concern is that — even though the fire is laying down — we have embers out there and any ember can make a spark and make the fire continue.”
Osby said that fire containment is an issue especially for Duarte and Bradbury, parts of which have not had a fire since the 1970s.
"That’s why we have personnel at the top of the ridge now with six bulldozers and most of the aircraft trying to put a containment line in to keep the fire from going in the backside when the winds come up this afternoon."
LA County Fire Incident Commander John Tripp echoed Osby’s concerns about the fire jumping highway 39 and recalled the 1980 Stables fire that burned 70 to 80 homes in the Duarte and Bradbury area.
“If it gets over there on that side and gets in alignment with the topography and the wind, then the fire could spread readily into Bradbury and Duarte,” Tripp told KPCC.
Bradbury and Duarte currently have voluntary evacuations.
“We've told people: take advantage of this time to get horses out of there,” said Tripp. “We’ve told people they are not under threat."
January 16, 2014 12:40 p.m. PST
Air quality is unhealthy today for all individuals in the San Gabriel Valley and Pomona due to the Colby Fire, according to the LA County Public Health Department. Additionally, air quality may also reach unhealthy levels for groups with respiratory problems living in Southeast and South Central Los Angeles County, as well as the South and Southwest Los Angeles County Coast through Thursday. Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr.Jonathan E. Fielding recommends that all individuals take precautions when outdoors in areas where there may be visible smoke or an odor of smoke.
January 16, 2014 11:57 a.m. PST
The American Red Cross has opened an Evacuation Center at Glendora High School 1600 E. Foothill Blvd, Glendora to assist those affected by the Colby Fire.
January 16, 2014 11:54 a.m. PST
Three men were being held in jail on suspicion of recklessly starting the Colby Fire in lieu of $20,000 bail each by the Glendora Police Department, Chief Tim Staab said at a Thursday morning news conference.
The three suspects were identified as Clifford Henry, Jr, 22, of Glendora; Jonathan Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale; and Steven Aguirre, 21, a transient.
Staab said police believe the three set a campfire and were tossing papers into the fire when a breeze kicked up and ignited the larger blaze in the foothills. Staab said he was told by detectives that "One [suspect] had made an admission to our detectives and admitted to starting this fire." That suspect was apologetic, Staab said.
The men came to police attention after a resident reported two people walking suspiciously away from the fire Thursday morning, Staab said. The two were detained. A third person was given a ride down by the U.S. Forest Service and was later detained.
The suspects are being cooperative, Staab said. Staab added that the area isn't a camping area, but that people do camp in the area.
January 16, 2014 10:50 a.m. PST
The Glendora Emergency Operations Center was evacuated Thursday morning due to the fire, according to the Los Angeles County CEO's office. The L.A. County Emergency Operations Center activated to Level 1 in support, according to the CEO's office, and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department also activated its Department Operations Center.
The L.A. County Fire Department has five Firehawk helicopters battling the Colby Fire, according to the CEO's office.
January 16, 2014 10:10 a.m. PST
The Glendora Police Department has three people in custody in connection with the Colby Fire, the department tweeted Thursday morning.
January 16, 2014 8:25 a.m. PST
L.A. County Fire Department Supervisor Kyle Sandford said seven fire engines, three helicopters and four camp crews have been sent to the scene. Other fire departments report on social media that they are sending personnel and equipment to assist L.A. County firefighters.