Wildfires are raging through California, and at least one is being blamed on arson.

A suspected arson fire that erupted in the San Jacinto Mountains near Idyllwild continued to spread Thursday as a second, smaller fire ignited just miles away and required the diversion of some firefighting resources.

The Cranston fire was deliberately set, authorities say, by a 32-year-old Temecula man Wednesday afternoon. The fire has destroyed five homes and caused thousands to flee. Chewing through grass and brush that have been baked dry by a heat wave, the wildfire has scorched 4,700 acres and is only 5% contained.

A towering pyrocumulus cloud has formed over the fire area, which will probably cause significant challenges for firefighters, said Capt. Scott Visyak of Cal Fire. Clouds from the pyrocumulus have already started collapsing onto themselves, which will cause the weather to change, Visyak said.

“Those clouds form from fire,” Visyak said. “It’s all heat, toxins and smoke.”

Brandon McGlover was booked on suspicion of five counts of arson. He is also suspected of setting multiple fires in southwest Riverside County, and more charges are possible.

Additionally, another wildfire stuck close to the famed San Diego Safari Park. Workers there were preparing crates in case it was necessary to begin evacuating animals.

Farther North in California, another raging wildfirw has killed two people and injured at least three firefighters, and is threatening the town off Redding. The blaze was caused by a vehicle malfunction on Highway 299, and is currently only 3% contained.

Yosemite National Park was evacuated in order to expedite the response to the nearby Ferguson Fire, which is now only 29% contained.

While Yosemite, which greets 4 million visitors each year, wasn’t under imminent danger from the Ferguson Fire, authorities decided to shut down the park to allow fire crews to perform protective measures — like burning away brush along roadways — without having to deal with park traffic.

Much of the fire, which has draped the park in heavy smoke, is burning in steep, rugged terrain west of the park with little to no access roads.

More than 3,300 firefighters are battling the wildfire, aided by 16 helicopters. One firefighter was killed July 14, and six others have been injured.

On the other side of the globe, Greek authorities are blaming arson for a wildfire in the Athens vicinity that has claimed the lives of over 80 people.

Greece said on Thursday it suspected arson was behind a devastating forest fire which killed at least 83 people and turned the small town of Mati east of Athens into a wasteland of death and destruction.

In one of the worst Greek disasters in living memory, Monday night’s blaze trapped dozens of people in their cars trying to flee a barreling wall of flames.

“We have serious indications and significant signs suggesting the criminal actions of arson,” Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas told a news conference. He said police had testimonies to that effect, but did not elaborate.

Drone footage provides insight to the extent of the damage in the town of Mati, which was hardest hit by the disaster.

Legal Insurrection readers will recall the Greek economic troubles that have led to a series of bailouts, including a third one that has just recently been finalized. This has meant the country likely has little funding for emergency response, and victims of these fires are blaming an inept state apparatus for the scale of the disaster.

In Mati, the coastal village almost entirely obliterated by the blaze, the defence minister, Panos Kammenos, was heckled on Thursday as authorities announced that the death toll had risen to 85. Residents, who had lost loved ones and homes, rounded on the politician, telling him: “You let us burn. You left us to the mercy of God.

Prayers are being said that all these fires are extinguished with no further deaths.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.