A brush fire that sparked along a trail near a park in Escondido earlier this week was intentionally set by a man suspected of arson, officials confirmed Saturday.
Cal Fire Capt. Jon Heggie said the Escondido Police Department (EPD) and Cal Fire jointly arrested Jose Duran Aguirre, 31, in connection with the wildfire that burned three acres along Hidden Trails Road just east of Frances Ryan Park on Thursday.
Aguirre, a transient from Escondido, was booked into San Diego Central Jail on two counts: recklessly setting fire to forest land and discharging an emergency signaling device in a manner other than that permitted for use. Heggie said the arson suspect is slated to appear in court on Wednesday.
The “Trails Fire” sparked around 2:40 p.m. Thursday; it spread to vegetation in the area of Old Guejito Grade and Stonebridge roads. Firefighters – on the ground and by air – were able to quickly gain control of the blaze and knock it down.
No one was hurt and no structures were damaged.
EPD officers detained Aguirre immediately following the fire after someone reported suspicious activity near the area where the fire started.
The Trails Fire was one of several brush fires that sparked Thursday amid hot, dry weather conditions increased the risks of wildfires across San Diego County.
Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham said that if arson is suspected in a case, investigators will work aggressively to seek justice.
“Cal Fireworks diligently in arson cases to aggressively investigate and prosecute those suspected of intentionally starting fires,” Mecham explained.
Cal Fire said anyone who sees something suspicious near a fire should make note of a few key things: the time; the suspect’s physical description; any suspect vehicle descriptions, including a license plate number. Witnesses should reach out to Cal Fire’s Arson Hotline with those details at (800) 468-4408. Tipsters can remain anonymous.