MONTEREY PARK, California (CNN) -- Arrest warrants have been issued for five men accused of starting a massive wildfire at Malibu State Park that destroyed more than 50 homes in November, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said.
A firefighter works to contain a wildfire threatening homes in Malibu, California, on November 24.
The men -- ranging in ages from 18 to 27 -- were drinking in a popular party spot in a cave at the park when they started the fire, authorities said.
All five are from the Los Angeles area and are being charged with three felonies -- including two arson-related charges.
Each count carries a sentence of two to four years in prison.
Investigators traced the fire to the cave, then used receipts and surveillance camera footage from a nearby store to hunt down the men, Baca said.
During the probe, fire officials speculated that a campfire may have started the blaze -- which engulfed roughly 5,000 acres and forced about 15,000 people to flee.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in the wake of the fire, which started on November 24.
The blaze -- which was fueled by dry Santa Ana winds -- followed a spate of California wildfires in October that charred more than 508,000 acres in several counties.
Those fires forced 1 million people from their homes and left 14 people dead. E-mail to a friend