Fire officials are now stating that the Orange County Santiago fire was purposely set and there is speculation that other fires may have also been deliberate. See Interactive Map
Fire officials found three separate “points of origin,” all near the intersection of Silverado Canyon Road and Santiago Canyon Road. Two were on one side of the road, and the third was on the other. “Whoever did this knew what they were doing,” said Kris Concepcion, a fire authority battalion chief. Also, the fire traveled 3 miles in its first 20 minutes when it was ignited about 6 p.m. Sunday, he said.
We are NOT implying that the California fires are an act of terrorism however; the threat of pyro-terrorist attacks pose a significant risk to the U.S. and the fires in California and in Greece earlier this year should be a wake-up call.
In 2003 an FBI memo alerted law enforcement agencies that an al-Qaeda terrorist being held in detention had talked of masterminding a plot to set a series of devastating forest fires around the western United States.
It was reported that the detainee, who was not identified, said the plan involved three or four people setting wildfires using timed devices in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming that would detonate in forests and grasslands after the operatives had left the country.
“The detainee believed that significant damage to the U.S. economy would result and once it was realized that the fires were terrorist acts, U.S. citizens would put pressure on the U.S. government to change its policies,” the memo said.
How Can So Many Fires Be By Natural Causes ?
A Local News Radio talk show host in San Diego asked, “how can so many fires, in so many places, in such a short period of time, all be caused by natural causes”.
From USA Today in July of 2003
The FBI alerted law enforcement agencies last month that an al-Qaeda terrorist now in detention had talked of masterminding a plot to set a series of devastating forest fires around the western United States.
Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, told The Associated Press that officials there took note of the warning but didn’t see a need to act further on it.
The contents of the June 25 memo from the FBI’s Denver office were reported Friday by The Arizona Republic. Davis declined to share a copy of the memo and an FBI spokeswoman in Denver didn’t immediately return a telephone call.
As we have stated before. If you see anything suspicious, report it to law enforcement immediately.
UPDATE: Video – Officials say arson now suspected in Orange County Fire
UPDATE: From Los Angeles Fox News
“I’m sad to report this is an arson fire,” OCFA Chief Chip Prather announced at an early morning briefing. “There were three separate starts: two on one side of the road and one on the other, and obviously we are actively investigating that.”
UPDATE Tuesday Night 10/23/07 An unidentified man was being detained late Tuesday for attempting to light a possible arson fire at the Mojave River Forks Campground near Highway 173 and Arrowhead Lake Road in Hesperia, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Beavers said.
About 8:50 p.m., a woman driving past the Mojave Forks Campground witnessed “a subject crouched down and then she saw fire,” Beavers said.
The woman immediately called the police, Beavers said, thus alerting and Sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers who were in the area setting up roadblocks.
Officers found the male suspect on a motorcycle at a nearby mini-market on Arrowhead Lake Road.
The man has not yet been arrested but the incident is being investigated, Beavers said.
UPDATE: 10/24/07 This morning on Fox News, hosts of the show Fox and Friends discussed this. They pointed to a 2003 FBI memo, which raised the possibility that al Qaeda may try to set wildfires around the western United States. They also noted that men in a “hovering helicopter” saw “a guy starting one of these fires.”
DOOCY: You’re looking live at pictures from San Diego — Santiago, CA, where the wildfires continue. We were talking earlier in today’s telecast with Adam Housley and apparently police officers in a hovering helicopter saw a guy starting one of these fires. And Allison Allison Camerota, an FBI memo from late in June of that year is popping up this morning and it is ominous.
CAMEROTA: This actually has happened for many years in the past as well. An FBI sent out to local law-enforcement said that an al Qaeda detainee had given them some information that the next wave of terrorism could be in the form of setting wild fires. Adam Housley said lots of people on his blog were asking him about it. Obviously this is something the FBI has looked into. They will continue to investigate it.
CARLSON: If they have this person in custody it probably won’t take long to be able to develop a link if there is one.
KILMEADE: A June 25 memo from the FBI’s Denver offices reported three days ago, excuse me, five days ago, by the Arizona Republic, that is a newspaper, they have been carrying the story and they continue to expand upon it.
DOOCY: Brian, the plot they say, according to this detainee, and they don’t know if the detainee is telling the truth. The plot was to set three or four wildfires. But they don’t mention California. They mention Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. We do know for a fact that a number of the fires in southern California are of a suspicious nature and they are investigating arson.
Links - A number of blogs and websites have sprung up to report on the fires. We will provide links to a couple we’ve found.