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While news reports continue to highlight the al-Qaeda threat, let's not forget that two months ago the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for starting two fires; one big one in San Diego in a housing development, and the other in Las Vegas, which burned several hundred townhouses still under construction. The case is still under investigation by ATF.
With the recent increase in ELF terrorist activity (bombing of bio-tech firms, and the attempted destruction of power pylons in three states), one has to give the latest California fires serious consideration.
One San Diego fire was set accidentally by a lost hunter, but two others were arson, set at about 3 a.m. The San Bernardino fire is also suspected to be arson (suspect vehicle is a gray van with multiple occupants who were seen throwing incendiary devices out the windows).
So far, the intelligence on the Ventura fire also indicates arson. A man was arrested Tuesday after deputies caught him setting a fire in a steep, remote canyon filled with dry brush and large trees in the Angeles National Forest, according to sheriff detectives.
Hikers in a remote trail about a one-half-mile north of the Eaton Canyon Bridge in Altadena saw a man starting a fire there, and he alerted authorities, sheriff's Detective Ed Nordskog said.
Los Angeles County Parks officials and sheriff’s deputies arrived about 10 a.m. as the man was standing next to the fire which about about four feet in diameter. He warned the deputies to stay away and not extinguish the blaze, Nordskog said.
The man, identified as Dikran Armouchian, 23, of Pasadena, made comments about the fire he had started - and a smaller one nearby - which was extinguished by authorities, Nordskog said. Officials noted that the dry area was ripe for the quick spread of a fire.
Armouchian, who had been reported missing by his family in Glendale, was booked at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station and held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
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