Arson Suspects "Extreme Danger" to Public: Judge

Eagle Fire burned through substantial resources in July

By Paul Krueger and Michael Gehlken
|  Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011  |  Updated 6:02 PM PDT
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Prosecutors say two 23-year-old men Jeremy Ortiz and Jesse James Durbin are to blame for the fire that caused $15 million in damage and spread over 14,000 acres.

Prosecutors say two 23-year-old men Jeremy Ortiz and Jesse James Durbin are to blame for the fire that caused $15 million in damage and spread over 14,000 acres.

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Two men charged with sparking a brush fire that burned more than 14,000 acres and $15 million in resources at a northeastern San Diego Indian Reservation pose an "extreme danger to the community," a judge said during their Friday arraignment.

Jeremy Ortiz and Jesse Durbin, both 23 and of the Warner Springs area, pleaded not guilty in a Vista Superior Court and face 10 years to life in prison if convicted of aggravated arson for the fire, dubbed the "Eagle Fire," last month on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation.

They also each face one county of felony arson on an inhabited forest land and were held on $2 million bail.

On July 21, the suspects started the 14,100-acre fire by torching the guard shack on the Eagle Rock Training Center, the prosecution alleged.

The fire took more than 2,000 personnel until July 30 to fully contain and cost about $15.4 million.

The fire burned a mix of grass, brush, oak and pine trees in steep, rugged terrain east of Warner Springs between the Los Coyotes reservationn and the Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Ortiz and Durbin both live on the reservation.

Ortiz was arrested Thursday and booked into the Vista Detention Center. Durbin was already booked at the center due to alleged felony vehicle theft.

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