SANTA CLARITA – A 20-year-old Lancaster man was arrested Thursday after he allegedly recklessly started a fire that quickly went to three alarms, scorching about 50 acres of brush in the Newhall Pass area.
The blaze — which also burned an outbuilding, threatened several other structures and prompted evacuations — broke out about 1:40 p.m. Thursday, July 13, in the 23900 block of The Old Road, near Towsley Canyon Road, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
A male suspect was observed by witnesses at the paintball park allegedly setting off a smoke canister during paintball games, said Shirley Miller of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
The canister set off a brush fire which became uncontrollable, Miller said.
Zachary Garcia was detained by deputies at the scene and arrested on suspicion of recklessly causing a fire, Miller said.
Firefighters were already mounting a ground and air attack on the flames when additional resources, including fixed-wing aircraft, were summoned to the scene, a fire department inspector said.
The Old Road was closed in the area and a paintball facility and U.S. Post Office were evacuated, according to the sheriff’s department.
The fire caused traffic to slow Thursday on the nearby Golden State (5) Freeway in both directions, but no lanes were closed.
The fire was stopped at 50 acres with 40 percent containment and 120 fire department personnel at the scene, the L.A. County Fire Department tweeted at 9:45 a.m. Friday.
No injuries were reported.