National News

Man accused of starting fast-growing California wildfire that forced the evacuation of Idyllwild

Posted July 25, 2018 11:30 p.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2018 7:31 a.m. EDT

A man accused of starting a wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest is facing five counts of arson in the blaze, which prompted the evacuation of the town of Idyllwild and several other communities and destroyed homes, authorities said.

Brandon N. McGlover, 32, of Temecula was detained Wednesday and charged with arson to wildland, the Riverside County Fire Department and Cal Fire said.

Authorities believe McGlover set multiple fires in Riverside County on Wednesday, including the Cranston Fire.

More than 700 firefighters are battling that blaze, which has scorched 4,700 acres and and is only 5% contained, officials with the San Bernardino National Forest said. The fire is about 15 miles southwest of Palm Springs and 35 miles southeast of Riverside.

Video recorded from helicopters of CNN affiliates appeared to show several homes and cabins going up in flames. Other homes looked to be covered with red flame retardant.

The town of Idyllwild, the community of Mountain Center, and the areas of Apple Canyon, Hurkey Creek and Lake Hemet -- or a total of about 16,000 people -- are under evacuation orders. But evacuation orders are no longer in effect for Fern Valley and Pine Cove.

A video posted by Twitter user Captain Woody shows massive amounts of smoke rising from the San Jacinto Mountains as an airplane drops retardant on the fire.

"From Pine Cove. Packing up," he wrote.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory.

The area around Idyllwild was the site of a massive wildfire in July 2013 that burned more than 27,000 acres.