One man has been arrested in connection with a roaring brushfire that has vexed Southern California first responders all weekend, authorities said Monday.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas announced the arrest of a suspect in the Palisades Fire but didn't reveal any other details.
The suspect was being treated for smoke inhalation Monday, Terrazas said at a news conference at the fire department's command post at Will Rogers State Beach.
"The person in custody, we feel we have the right person," Terrazas said.
The blaze has charred more than 1,325 acres, but firefighters said they made considerable progress Monday afternoon after the Southern California marine layer lifted and more water-dropping aircraft were allowed to attack flames.
The Palisades Fire was listed at 23 percent containment by early Monday evening, according to the L.A. County Fire Department.
About 540 firefighters from agencies across Southern California were on the lines this weekend and Monday, officials said.
"We're putting everything that we can on this," Mayor Garcetti said.
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The Palisades Fire is the product of at least two blazes that might have been started by an arsonist near the Santa Ynez Falls hiking trail about 10 p.m. Friday before at least one more blaze was later ignited nearby, authorities said.
"Anytime you have multiple points of origins your first thought (is), 'This is not natural,'" said Terrazas, who thanked an LAPD helicopter pilot who spotted the first blaze to help firefighters get a start.
Firefighters work on a fire line as flames from the Palisades Fire glow in the distance in Topanga State Park, northwest of Los Angeles, on May 15, 2021.
Firefighters work on a fire line as flames from the Palisades Fire glow in the distance in Topanga State Park, northwest of Los Angeles, on May 15, 2021.Patrick T. Fallon / AFP - Getty Images
"There wasn’t enough wind for embers. Under normal conditions, you would consider that. But there was not very much wind" over the weekend.
Pacific Palisades residents kept a close eye on flames Monday, with their bags packed and car keys within reach.
"Our car has been packed since Friday night, shoes next to the bed and we're ready to go at any point," Pacific Palisades resident Megan Herzlinger said.
Flames were within a mile of the 37-year-old's home, which sits at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains — a picturesque setting under normal conditions.
"It's a beautiful landscape and we love hiking, but it comes with the dangers of, if a fire starts, there's nothing to stop it before it gets to these houses," Herzlinger said. "It's just kindling."