Transient man arrested on suspicion of starting multiple fires in Canyon Country, Newhall

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seal. File Photo
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A transient man was arrested on suspicion of starting multiple fires in the Canyon Country and Newhall areas after a passerby reported seeing the 29-year-old last week igniting some of the blazes.  

Law enforcement officials have said they believe mental health concerns were a contributing factor to his arrest. 

Four of the fires that were started began on Thursday and an additional two were ignited on Friday, according to Detective Cynthia Valencia of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arson and Explosives Unit.  

“(The suspect) lit a couple of brush fires with some debris in it,” said Valencia. “It was witnessed by a civilian on a bike path and he’s the one that called it in.” 

According to Valencia, the fires broke out near the Camp Plenty Road and Soledad Canyon Road intersection and near Placerita Canyon Road and Highway 14. She could not confirm whether or not the fires were the Oil and Needham Fires that burned on Thursday, but the Newhall fires burned nearby one another.  

Valencia said the suspect is believed to be mentally ill, and is said to have lit the fires believing that by doing so he would rid himself of a “spell or hex.”   

No injuries or damaged structures were reported as a result of the series of blazes. The man was booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and held in lieu of $75,000 bail.  

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