California wildfire suspects charged in federal court

Story highlights

  • If found guilty, the three men could face up to five years in prison
  • The Colby Wildfire, which has burned close to 2,000 acres, is 95% contained
  • It has destroyed five homes and resulted in injuries

Three men accused of starting an illegal campfire that grew into a wildfire last week in California have been charged in federal court.

The Colby Wildfire, as it is called, was 95% contained Tuesday. It's so far scorched close to 2,000 acres of foothills in Los Angeles County near Glendora.

The three men were identified as Jonathan Carl Jerrell, 24; Clifford Eugene Henry Jr., 22; and Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.

They were charged with unlawfully setting timber afire, a felony offense that carries a possible sentence of five years in prison.

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Embers from the campfire are believed to have set dry grass adjacent to the ring afire. Winds and drought conditions took it from there.

They three men were taken into custody Thursday, the day the Colby Fire started.

The fire has destroyed five residences, damaged 17 other structures, and resulted in injuries to one civilian and two firefighters, the statement said.

    On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for the state, saying it is facing "perhaps the worst drought that California has ever seen since records (began) about 100 years ago."

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