UPDATE: Arsonist suspected in four small brush fires Thursday morning

After responding to a rash of four small brush fires along Highway 14 from Agua Dulce to just south of Newhall Thursday morning, emergency response officials suspect someone may have started each of the fires. “We’ve received a request from the (Los Angles County) Fire Department to report any information of a possible suspect,” California Highway Patrol Officer Eric Preissman told The Signal Thursday morning, referring to reports of an arsonist.
A firefighter douses the area where a small brush fire broke out on northbound Highway 14 just north of Escondido Canyon Road on Thursday, July 6, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
Between 10:15 a.m. and 11:05 a.m., fire crews responded to the four fires. At least three small brush fires were reported to authorities within a 30-minute period Thursday morning, two of them in Newhall and a third just south of Newhall. Each of the “small fires” began near highways and each of the three fires was extinguished within 10 minutes, Inspector Richie Licon of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told The Signal Thursday. Power lines and highway traffic posed problems for fire crews responding to the first of two brush fires in Newhall Thursday morning. The fire, dubbed the Newhall Incident, broke out shortly after 10:15 a.m. near the northbound lanes of Highway 14, prompting the temporary shutdown of northbound traffic, Licon said. The Newhall Incident fire was reported to have burned at least one acre moving at a moderate rate of speed, he said. A second separate fire described as a “spot fire” covering an area of 10 feet by 10 feet was reported near the Highway 14 interchange with Interstate 5 shortly after 10:35 a.m., north of Highway 14, Licon said. Firefighters reported to their dispatchers that both fires were small and manageable.
An Angeles National Forest official, center, inspects the area near where a brush fire started just north of Escondido Canyon Road on northbound Highway 14 on Thursday, July 6, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
A third fire south of Newhall near I-5 and San Fernando Mission Boulevard was promptly extinguished, Licon said. A fourth fire broke out shortly after 10:45 a.m. along the northbound lanes of Highway 14 near Escondido Canyon Road. The fire was described as 50 feet by 50 feet moving slowly on the south side of Highway 14 near Escondido, Licon said. “We have two engines and one helicopter on that fire,” Licon said, about the fire near Escondido. Firefighters stopped all “forward progress of the fire” at 10:57 a.m., he said.
Firefighters begin to pack up a hoseline used to douse a small brush fire that started along northbound Highway 14 just north of Escondido Canyon Road on Thursday, July 6, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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